IND vs SA 2021: The BCCI on Wednesday announced an 18 member squad for the upcoming test series in South Africa. Along with the announcement of the test squad the selection committee has also named Rohit Sharma as the full-time ODI & T20I captain of the Indian team.
Rohit Sharma has led India in the T20I series against New Zealand on their home soil after Virat Kohli stepped down from the role of T20I Captain. However, reportedly Virat Kohli had expressed his wish to lead the ODI team until the 2023 World Cup in India but the selectors finally announced that Rohit Sharma will take over ODI Captaincy from Virat Kohli with immediate effect. While Kohli will continue to lead the Test side, Rohit has also been elevated as the vice-captain in the longest format.
Meanwhile, under-form Ajinkya Rahane managed to secure his spot in the Test squad but he will face tough competition for featuring in the Playing XI with the selectors selecting Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari in the test squad. While Shreyas Iyer recently impressed everyone on his test debut, Vihari has been amongst the leading run-scorer for India A in South Africa.
However, India’s spin department faced a major setback as its first choice spinners Ravindra Jadeja & Axar Patel have been ruled out of the series due to injuries. In the absence of frontline line spinners, Jayant Yadav has somehow managed to hold his spot as the secodn spinner behind R Ashwin having played in Mumbai against New Zealand recently. On the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Shami who were rested for the New Zealand T20I series have made a comeback to the squad.
Injuries continue to haunt the Indian team as its opener Shubman Gill has also been ruled out of the test series after suffering an injury. Suryakumar Yadav, who was in the Test squad for the last two assignments without getting a game, has been dropped. KS Bharat who had replaced Rishabh Pant in the home series against New Zealand will also return to the squad for the South Africa tour. KL Rahul, who was ruled out of the New Zealand Tests, is back alongside Shardul Thakur.
In order to provide ample options for the pace attack, the selectors have also named three pacers- Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, and Arzan Nagwaswalla as standby options. Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar is also looked in as teh fourth standby option in teh absence of the frontline spinners Jadeja & Axar. All four players are already in South Africa as part of the India A squad.
The India Tour of South Africa has been postponed by a few days due to the threat posed by the new COVID-19 variant Omricon. India will start the South Africa tour on December 26 with the Boxing Day test which will be accompanied by two more Tests and three ODIs. The four-match T20I series has been scrapped with the boards announcing that it will be played at a later date.
IND vs SA 2021: India Test Squad
Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed. Siraj.
Standby players –
Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla