Rohit Sharma Considered for T20I Captaincy as Iyer Eyes Test Comeback in IND vs SA Series

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BCCI is likely to approach Rohit Sharma to captain the Indian T20I side in the South Africa series. Sharma has not played T20Is for India since T20 World Cup 2022.

The BCCI brass will like to convince Rohit Sharma to lead the India team in T20 format despite his reluctance after the 2022 World T20 semi-final exit as the board announces the three squads for the South Africa assignment here on Thursday. The BCCI’s secretary and convenor of the selection committee Jay Shah will meet the chairman of the panel Ajit Agarkar in the national capital to discuss the squads as well as prepare a roadmap for the next big-ticket event — the T20 World Cup.

With regular T20 captain Hardik Pandya sidelined due to injury, the spotlight is on Rohit Sharma’s leadership skills. Despite Rohit’s previous reluctance towards T20 cricket, his commendable stint as captain during the ODI World Cup has convinced the board to consider him for white-ball leadership until the T20 World Cup in June-July.

As per a confidential source within the BCCI, the board is leaning towards Rohit Sharma’s leadership for the T20 format, aligning it with a potential captaincy role in the T20 World Cup, provided Rohit agrees. In the absence of Rohit’s consent, Suryakumar Yadav remains the likely T20 captain for South Africa.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli’s participation hinges on his IPL performance, as he has opted for a break from white-ball games in South Africa. Similarly, KL Rahul’s inclusion in the T20Is depends on his role as a keeper-batter for the Lucknow Super Giants in the upcoming season.

The crux of the matter lies in workload management, with India scheduled to play six white-ball matches within 11 days, including three ODIs in five days, followed by the commencement of the Test series within five days on December 26. The BCCI traditionally prioritizes formats aligning with imminent global tournaments. Consequently, if Rohit leads in the T20Is, a strategic rest to prepare for Tests might be considered, pending advice from the sports science team.

No surprises in Test team

The upcoming Test squad sees the anticipated comebacks of Rahul and Shreyas Iyer after enduring lengthy injury setbacks. This potential return might signal a shift, with Ajinkya Rahane possibly facing exclusion, while Cheteshwar Pujara’s chances remain slim for the current selection.

An intriguing scenario arises if Rahul opts to take on the wicketkeeping role in Tests, potentially accommodating both him and Iyer in the playing XI. However, this move hinges on Ishan Kishan stepping in as the second keeper, allowing room for an additional batter. The selection committee, led by Ajit Agarkar, faces the dilemma of considering Rahane’s inclusion at 35 years old.

The bowling contingent seems robust, with a fit Jasprit Bumrah keen on continuing his Test stint, supported by Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur. Mukesh Kumar emerges as a compelling choice for the reserve pace slot, impressing with his recent performances.

Ravindra Jadeja, as usual, will be the first-choice spinner in overseas conditions while Ravichandran Ashwin and one among Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav will complete the spinner’s lineup.