South Africa tour: India name three captains for three formats as 'big two' skip white-ball leg

No room for Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane in Test squad; doubts linger over Mohammed Shami’s fitness

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav will captain in Tests, ODIs and T20s respectively
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav will captain in Tests, ODIs and T20s respectively

Gautam Bhattacharyya

The Indian squad for the demanding tour of South Africa in December-January will, in a first, see different captains for three formats, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) giving a break to the big two — Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — from the white-ball leg of the tour. Suryakumar Yadav will lead the team in three T20Is, KL Rahul in the ODIs that follow, while Rohit will be back at the helm for the two Tests. 

Apart from Virat and Rohit, attacking lynchpin Jasprit Bumrah is another big name who will not be part of the white-ball formats, with an eye on his workload. He will join the squad for the two-match Test series starting 26 December. 

Meanwhile, fast bowler Mohammed Shami's availability for the two-match Test series is subject to fitness. "Mohd. Shami is currently undergoing medical treatment and his availability is subject to fitness," said BCCI. 

That apart, the Test squad sends out a clear signal that the selectors are looking beyond senior pros Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane as both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer — who acquitted themselves extremely well on coming back from injuries in the recent 50-over World Cup — are back in the team.

Incidentally, Rahane may feel a little shortchanged as he answered to the SOS for the World Test Championship final against Australia rather well and was also elevated to vice-captaincy.  

There is some good news for cricket fans in Kerala as Sanju Samson has received the nod for the one-day team along with Rajat Patidar, who has recovered from injury. Suryakumar, meanwhile, has been rested from the ODI side as he has been playing non-stop. 

The squad was announced after BCCI chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar met with other board officials and head coach Rahul Dravid in New Delhi on Thursday. India’s Word Cup performance was also reviewed at the meeting. 

The T20I series will see the return of Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj. The three World Cup squaddies were not part of the ongoing five-match T20 series at home against Australia. 

Tamil Nadu’s Sai Sudarshan has earned his maiden India call-up for the three-match ODI series, which also features leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Gill will be part of the T20Is and Tests, while Suryakumar will return home after leading India in the T20Is. 

Interestingly, Rahul has been listed as a wicketkeeper for the Test squad. This also marks his return to the red-ball side after being dropped in the middle of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year.  

T20I squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (C), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (VC), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar. 

ODI squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (C)(wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar. 

Test squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna. 

India vs South Africa: full schedule 

1st T20I – December 10, 2023 at 9.30 pm IST in Kingsmead, Durban

2nd T20I – December 12, 2023 at 9.30 pm IST in St George’s Park, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)

3rd T20I – December 14, 2023 at 9.30 pm IST in New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 

1st ODI – December 17, 2023 at 1.30 pm IST in New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 

2nd ODI – December 19, 2023 at 4.30 pm IST in St George’s Park, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)

3rd ODI – December 21, 2023 at 4.30 pm IST in Boland Park, Paarl 

1st Test – December 26-30, 2023 at 1.30 pm PM IST in SuperSport Park, Centurion 

2nd Test – January 3-7, 2024 from 2.00 pm IST in Newlands, Cape Town   

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