India announce ODI squad for South Africa series; KL Rahul to lead

KL Rahul India
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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With Rohit Sharma failing to recover from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the South Africa Tests, KL Rahul has been appointed as India’s captain for the upcoming three-match ODI series. Senior pacer Jasprit Bumrah will work as his deputy in the series.

“We are looking at KL Rahul as a three-format player, and he has got good experience of captaincy,” Chetan Sharma, the BCCI chief selector, said. “He has proved his leadership qualities. That is what all selectors think. When Rohit is not fit, we thought KL is the best one to handle the side. We have good confidence in him, and we are grooming him,” he added. 

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Meanwhile, the 18-member squad announced on December 31 (Friday) saw the return of veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after a gap of four years. Shikhar Dhawan has also returned to the ODI fold after a significant gap.

Meanwhile, Venkatesh Iyer has earned his maiden ODI call-up. Much like T20Is, he is expected to bat in the middle-order and bowl some overs as he is being looked as Hardik Pandya’s like-to-like replacement. The other all-rounder in the side is Washington Sundar, who returns after a long injury haul. Pacer Deepak Chahar also found a place in the squad along with Ishan Kishan, who has been in and out of the squad in recent times.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been scoring runs for fun since the IPL 2021, has also been picked in the squad as expectedly. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Gaikwad is likely to pair up with KL Rahul in the top-order while Shikhar Dhawan is expected to be the third opener.

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Mohammed Shami has been rested – India selector Chetan Sharma

Among the absentees, seasoned fast bowler Mohammed Shami topped the list. Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma stated that he has been rested to manage his workload. He said:

“Mohammed Shami, we are resting him looking at the load management of our faster bowlers. He will definitely be playing the coming series. Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja, both are bot fit, that’s the reason they are not in South Africa.”

India ODI squad: KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj

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