In an expected move, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Wednesday appointed Rohit Sharma as the captain of the ODI team ahead of the upcoming tour of South Africa. He will replace Virat Kohli at the helm. (More Cricket News)
The opening batter already got the T20 reigns and led India to a 3-0 clean sweep against New Zealand soon after the failed ICC Men's T20 World Cup campaign under Kohli. With this move, the Indian cricket team's captaincy split is officially completed.
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Rohit, 34, has an impeccable limited-overs captaincy record, especially in the shortest format of the game. He has led Mumbai Indians to multiple Indian Premier League (IPL) titles. In fact, he is the most successful captain in the IPL, even surpassing legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The clamour for split-captaincy was growing. And with Kohli struggling in Test cricket, the transition will be read as a wise move from the selectors. Kohli himself has cited "workload management" as one of the key areas he needs to work on to prolong an already celebrated career. He clearly prefers Test cricket.
This may be a reluctant move from the BCCI, which was always against split captaincy for reasons too well known to fans and pundits. But this is one step that can actually reinvigorate the career of a cricket superstar, who can break all batting records.
India's new head coach, Rahul Dravid has also stressed on injury and mental health management to get the best result from the players. Kohli's failure to score an international century in the last two years sure justifies such a call. His last century (136) was against Bangladesh in the Pink-Ball Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in November 2019.
Rohit will thus become the sole white-ball leader of the team till the 2023 ODI World Cup.
The move only establishes Rohit's growing influence in the Indian camp. He already has the game to win matches for India, now he also has the means to dictate the terms -- on how the team plays, and who plays when.
But in an unexpected move on Wednesdat, the national selectors removed Ajinkya Rahane from Test vice-captaincy. Rohit will now take that position too. Rahane missed the Mumbai Test against New Zealand after picking up an injury in the last minute.
The Indian selectors announced an 18-member squad for the three-Test series against South Africa.
Big names who have missed the bus are Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Shubman Gill. They are all nursing injuries.
Test Squad: Virat Kohli (c), 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.
Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.
India's tour of South Africa starts with the Boxing Day Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. It will be followed by two more Test matches and three ODI matches.
The Test series will be part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship, while the ODI series will form part of the ICC Men’s World Cup Super League, which serves as the qualification tournament for the 2023 ICC Men’s World Cup.