Kolkata: The Indian senior selection committee, which met to pick up the Test squad for South Africa tour, also came up with a major announcement by installing Rohit Sharma as the fulltime white ball captain of India with immediate effect. Sharma, who took over the T20 captaincy from the last home series against New Zealand after Kohli’s stepping down, will now be captain for the One-day Internationals while he was also elevated as the vice-captain of the Test team.
This marks the end of the Kohli’s reign as the leader in white ball cricket - though speculation was rife about it from the time the ‘Hitman’ was installed as the captain in the T20 format. The elevation to vice-captaincy in Tests, starting from the demanding series in South Africa, is another endorsement of Rohit’s growing importance in the five-day format as well as the fact that Ajinkya Rahane is not an automatic selection anymore.
A 18-member squad for the upcoming three-Test series, starting with the Boxing Day Test, was named with Sharma replacing Ajinkya Rahane as the vice-captain. Both Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, whose selection was under relentless scrutiny due to their prolonged poor run, were however named in the Test squad.
The following players were not available for selection due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation: Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa has announced a strong 21-member Test squad. Glenton Stuurman and Prenelan Subrayen have been drafted back into the team while Sisanda Magala and Ryan Rickelton have received their maiden Test call-ups. The star trio of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Quinton de Kock, which was rested for the ODIs against the Netherlands are back for the Tests, and as is Duanne Olivier, who makes a comeback to the Test squad.
Olivier’s last Test appearance for South Africa was in Gqeberha against Sri Lanka in February, 2019. The 29-year-old has made a loud return to the CSA Four-Day Series, ending this year as the leading wicket taker, eight scalps clear of number two, Simon Harmer. Olivier has claim to 28 wickets in eight innings at an average of 11.14 and best innings bowling figures of 5/53.
Indian 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, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj.
Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.
South Africa Test squad: Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen. Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Duanne Olivier.