India Vs South Africa ODI Series: Rohit To Be Missed, Selection Of Shikhar Good Decision!


On the very first assignment as the regular One-Day International (ODI) captain for the India’s South Africa Tour-2021-22 and in the aftermath of the Virat split-captaincy controversy Rohit Sharma was finally ruled out of the full tour. This comes as a huge setback for Team India who has been doing well to take a 1-0 lead in the Test Series with the 3-match ODI Series to start from 19th January 2022. Rohit had been suffering from a hamstring injury and was earlier ruled out for the Test Series which led to a lot of speculation about test captain Virat not playing the ODIs under the leadership of Rohit. As we wrote about Virat Kohli deciding to play the ODIs in his pre-tour press conference where he dropped a bombshell involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly and it was not made clear till now who was probably lying with Ganguly saying the matter would to be sorted out as and when appropriate and the latter going down with COVID infection subsequently. The Chief Selector Chetan Sarma had given a response that the white-ball captaincy decision was that of the Selectors’ and that the BCCI was quite shocked when Virat declared his decision to give up the T20I captaincy after the T20 World Cup.


Now, it is clear that neither Virat nor Rohit is going to play under each other’s leadership for whatever reasons be and the Test vice-captain KL Rahul is the automatic choice as the stand-in captain for the ODI Series. Although the services of Rohit Sharma will be missed sorely by India the return of Shikhar Dhawan is a positive development and a good decision by the selectors. He has been a successful opener for India in the shorter format for the past several years and his injury in the 2019 World Cup cost India dearly. Yet, he has been continually sidetracked by the selectors in the recent tournaments even after his good performances in the IPLs while several rookies like Rituraj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Ishan Kishan and Prasidh Krishna have been included in the India squad based on their IPL performances. Anyway, the opening pair of in-form KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan is expected to deliver the goods, and else the two openers, Gaikwad and Ishan, are available as possible options. The full squad is as below with Jasprit Bumrah appointed Rahul’s deputy.

India ODI Squad: KL Rahul (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rituraj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (opener cum wk), Y Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj. 


The comebacks of R Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Yazuvendra Chahal are sure to make more bowling options available for India. While Mohammed Shami has been rested Ravidra Jadeja and Axar Patel are yet to be declared fit. Hardik Pandya and Rahul Chahar have not been selected.


Meanwhile, Quinton de-Kock had done a Dhoni by retiring from Test cricket suddenly in the middle of a crucial Test Series when his team is trailing and needs his services as an experienced wicketkeeper cum batsman the most. He is only 29 and has a long career ahead of him while Dhoni was around 34 when he dramatically retired in 2014 in the middle of an away Test series against Australia. Quinton’s decision has shocked all cricketers in South Africa and elsewhere. It was reported that he was granted paternity leave by the South Africa cricket board, but his decision to announce retirement from test cricket was totally unexpected. He has, of course, made himself available for the white-ball formats. His likely replacements, namely Kyle Verreynne and Ryan Rickelton, have very little experience in test cricket. The services of the injured strike pacer Nortje are also in doubt. It seems both teams have suffered setbacks and how the ODI Series goes is to be only to be seen later this month.  


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