The BCCI on Wednesday revealed India's squad for the upcoming South Africa tour and gave the green light to the tour amid the Omicron virus concerns.
The Test squad for the series was revealed and some other key announcements were made. Let's have a look at India's Test squad first.
Squad: Virat Kohli (Capt),Rohit Sharma(vc), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(wk), Wriddhiman Saha(wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj. pic.twitter.com/6xSEwn9Rxb— BCCI (@BCCI) December 8, 2021
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma(Vc), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(wk), Wriddhiman Saha(wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj.
# Some standby players were also named (Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla, and Saurabh Kumar.)
India's last Test series was a great one as they beat New Zealand 1-0 after drawing the first Test due to fine margins and then registering their biggest ever Test win in the next and the decisive Test.
India also beat New Zealand without any problems in the T20I series where it was Rohit Sharma who led India for the first time since Kohli stepped down after the T20 World Cup.
With this, another vital announcement that was made yesterday was Rohit Sharma's appointment as India's ODI captain. Reports suggest that Virat Kohli was keen to lead India in ODIs at least until the 2023 World Cup but now it's ascertained that Rohit Sharma will be India's limited-overs skipper.
Kohli's reign as India's ODI skipper was a great one as he contrived to win 51 out of the 78 games he captained and that included appearances in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The ultimate chance
The likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were not dropped despite a poor run of games in 2021 and it seems that this might be their last chance to redeem themselves.
The issue is more serious than ever, with the emergence of the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari who have shown the potential to succeed them in the longest format of the game.
Vihari has been exceptional for India A in South Africa and thus, Rahane will have to be wary of the way he bats in the future.
The likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel will miss the tour due to injuries, a huge blow that may hurt India on the tour. However, their replacement, Jayant Yadav would be India's second spinner for the tour behind Ashwin. Suryakumar Yadav is dropped after failing to make it to the squad in the New Zealand series.
Shubman Gill will also miss the tour due to an injury, while KS Bharat is dropped, Wriddhiman Saha has also fallen behind in the pecking order as Rishabh Pant returns to the squad.
KL Rahul, who missed the New Zealand series due to an injury, is also with Shardul Thakur returning to the squad too.
India's Tour has been delayed by a week and it is mutually agreed that the series will kick off on Boxing Day in Centurion. It's a two-Test and three-match ODI series and the four-match T20I series has been scrapped and will be played sometime later.
It will be interesting to see how Rohit Sharma leads the side and also implements his tactical changes, changes in approach, and batting as well.
Stay tuned with Cricwizz for more updates.
Cover Credits: BCCIofficial