Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match Tests series against South Africa after the India opener has suffered a hamstring injury during training in Mumbai on Sunday. Priyank Panchal will replace Rohit in the Indian team. (More Cricket News)
"Team India Test vice-captain Rohit Sharma sustained a left hamstring injury during his training session here in Mumbai yesterday. He has been ruled out of the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. Priyank Panchal will replace Rohit Sharma in the Test squad," BCCI said in a statement on Monday.
The 34-year-old Rohit also sustained a hit on his hands at the Mumbai nets while taking throwdowns from Raghavendra aka Raghu. The Board has not announced a stand-in vice-captain but it is expected that KL Rahul is the front-runner for being Virat Kohli's deputy during the Tests.
As of now, the extent of Rohit’s injury is not very clear. It is not known whether it’s a strain which is a less serious injury or a tear, which will have to be graded. The BCCI is yet to share the details of his scan report which will ascertain the degree of the injury.
The bigger question lies in who would be Virat Kohli’s deputy in South Africa during the Tests. The BCCI is yet to announce a stand-in vice-captain but as per sources, there are multiple names in the fray vying for the position.
Considering Ajinkya Rahane has been removed from that role, the names of KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin have cropped up for the vice-captain’s role. Although Rahul seems to be the frontrunner to grab the position, a section in the BCCI believes that Ashwin needs to be accorded respect for his stupendous international career.
It is learnt that Panchal reported at the team hotel on Monday evening. Panchal is no greenhorn as he has 100 first-class matches under his belt with 7011 runs, including 24 hundreds. He has been a part of a very successful Gujarat team that won the Ranji Trophy under Parthiv Patel.
Panchal has just led India A vs South Africa A in three four-day Tests. He was earlier called up in an extended India Test squad against England at home. The 31-year-old was also one of India’s reserve openers against England alongside Abhimanyu Easwaran.
India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj.