South Africa is the only SENA country India have never won a Test series in. So, it’s the final frontier for India and with a strong, the Indian team, which is top of the ICC Test Team Rankings, is in with a great chance to end that drought. But just before flying to South Africa, India got a huge setback in the form of vice-captain Rohit Sharma being ruled out of the series through injury. Though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not announced a replacement vice-captain, a top board official told NDTV on condition of anonymity that in the absence of Rohit, KL Rahul will take over those duties and become Virat Kohli’s deputy in the Test series.
The official told NDTV that with Rohit Sharma injured KL Rahul is the only certainty, among the senior players, to play all the matches and him being Virat’s deputy in South Africa Test series isn’t a surprise.
Earlier this week, the BCCI in an official press release, confirmed that Rohit had been ruled out due to a left hamstring injury.
Rohit got injured in the last training session before going into the bubble for South Africa tour.
The star batter had also missed a limited-overs series in Australia last year due to a hamstring injury.
The BCCI officially announced Priyank Panchal, Gujarat and India A captain for 2 out of the 3 four-day matches recently in South Africa, as Rohit’s replacement for the Test series.
Though, a question could be asked why KL Rahul? He wasn’t even a certainty before the England series and only got an opportunity as Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill both got injured.
But since then, things have changed. Rahul has been scoring at an average of 40+ ever since, only behind Rohit Sharma, who has scored more than 900 runs at an average of almost 48.
Virat Kohli himself hasn’t been among the runs and has only been scoring at an average of around 26 in the last two years.
Injuries to Rohit, and Shubman in a way, has cemented Rahul’s place in the Test side as an opener at least for the three Tests in South Africa.
Ravichandran Ashwin is someone who may not play all the Tests overseas due to the seaming, swinging conditions and bouncier pitches while Jasprit Bumrah is someone who India would always want to handle with care and rotate him around.
In the batting department Ajinkya Rahane is scoring at an average of around 19 this year, his spot in the playing XI is not certain.
Vice-captain in the Kanpur Test vs New Zealand, Cheteshwar Pujara is scoring at an average around 27 in last 2 years.
So, KL Rahul is the only certain name one can pick who would play all the three Tests at the top of the order.
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