NEW DELHI: With regular T20I skipper Hardik Pandya out for another month due to an ankle ligament tear, the BCCI will look to convince Rohit Sharma to lead the side in the shortest format in the upcoming tour of South Africa.
India will be playing 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and a couple of Tests in the Rainbow Nation, starting December 10 for which the teams will be picked on Thursday.
The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee is set to meet BCCI’s secretary Jay Shah to discuss the squads for the tour of South Africa and chalk out the roadmap for the fast-approaching T20 World Cup.
Rohit had earlier shown his reluctance to lead the side in the shortest format after the 2022 World T20 semi-final exit and in case he sticks with his decision, the BCCI will have another option in Suryakumar Yadav amid Hardik’s absence.
It must also be mentioned that Rohit previously said that he doesn’t want to play the T20 format but the manner in which he led the side in the ODI World Cup has convinced the BCCI that he should continue in white-ball till the T20 World Cup in the Americas in June-July.
“Yes, there remains a question what happens when Hardik comes back but in BCCI, they feel that if Rohit agrees to lead in T20Is, he will lead in the T20 World Cup. In case Rohit doesn’t agree then Surya continues as captain for T20Is in South Africa,” a BCCI source privy to the development told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
Virat Kohli it must be mentioned has sought a break from white-ball games in South Africa.
As far as Kohli is concerned, everything will depend on how he plays in IPL and ditto for KL Rahul, who will only play T20Is if he dons the role of a keeper-batter for Lucknow Super Giants in the coming season.
The second question is of workload management as India play six white-ball matches in 11 days — with three 50-over games in five days.
The Test series will then start in five days’ time on December 26.
“The BCCI has always given preference to that particular white ball format which has a global tournament in next six months. ODIs post World Cup is third priority and three ODIs is a lot.
“Hence if Rohit leads in T20Is, he might take rest to freshen up for Tests. It will be decided by sports science team,” the source said.No surprises in Test team
The duo of Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will be making a comeback into the Test squad after long injury lay-offs and hence, Ajinkya Rahane might get the axe while Cheteshwar Pujara has very little chance of making the cut as of now.
The only way Rahane can make it is if Rahul decides to keep wickets in Tests and Ishan Kishan becomes the second keeper, opening the doors for an extra batter in the squad. But at 35, whether Ajit Agarkar’s committee would like to look back is the question.
Rahul keeping wickets would mean that both him and Iyer can fit into the Test match playing XI.
Jasprit Bumrah is fighting fit and wants to continue playing Test cricket and will have Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur for company.
Mukesh Kumar, who has impressed one and all, is a strong contender for the reserve pacer’s slot.
Ravindra Jadeja, as usual, will be the first-choice spinner in overseas conditions while Ravichandran Ashwin and one among Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav will complete the spinner’s lineup.
Kona Bharat, who has been very disappointing with the bat, will only get a look-in if Rahul doesn’t want to keep wickets.
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(With inputs from PTI)