India's tour of South Africa: Virat Kohli removed as ODI skipper, Rohit Sharma steps in

The BCCI announced the 18-member squad for the three Test series which doesn't include all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, spinner Axar Patel, and opener Shubman Gill due to various injuries.

Published: 08th December 2021 07:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2021 12:18 AM   |  A+A-

Virat Kohli and batsman Rohit Sharma

Indian cricketers Virat Kohli (Right) and Rohit Sharma (left). (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The biggest development was buried at the bottom of the BCCI's press release announcing the Test squad for South Africa tour. For the first time since 2005, the senior selection panel of the BCCI, has removed an incumbent as ODI captain.

Ever since Virat Kohli gave up his T20 captaincy citing workload, all things have been pointing towards him losing ODI role too and the selectors, with the full-backing of the BCCI, took the bold step on Wednesday.

ALSO READ| Kohli throws weight behind Rahane, but will decide after meeting with selectors and Dravid

Going forward, Kohli will remain captain only of the Test team and Rohit Sharma will lead the team in white-ball cricket, apart from being the vice-captain in long format.

The decision in itself isn't surprising, as teams rarely have two different captains for white-ball cricket. Moreover, it is reliably learnt that when Rohit accepted the T20 captaincy, he did so on the pre-condition that he would get to lead in the ODIs too.

However, right through this period Kohli is understood to have made no intentions of stepping down as ODI captain. Having relinquished T20 captaincy citing workload and following it up by stepping down as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, Kohli believed these factors would keep in good steady to lead the team in ODIs and Tests.

With no T20Is to be played in South Africa, one expected the selectors to delay the decision until the home series against West Indies, but eventually, they took the call on Wednesday. Although the top brass of the BCCI were advocating for a change in leadership since the tour of England, the selectors seem to have consulted a few players and team management too about the road ahead.

And following lengthy discussions, Kohli has been removed as ODI captain. Sourav Ganguly was the last Indian captain to be removed by the selectors, who replaced him with the current head coach Rahul Dravid in 2005.

That said, to remove a captain who enjoyed a winning percentage of 68 and was easily the stand-out performer in the format over the past decade, is no means an easy decision particularly when one considers his overall record. He won 15 of the 19 bilateral series as captain. His win-loss ratio of 2.4 is the best for any Indian captain.

Kohli, though, retains full support with regards to the Test team as he prepares to lead them through a transition phase post the South Africa tour. The flipside of Kohli not being captain in ODIs, could prove beneficial on his personal front, as it will help him focus fully on his batting and could spur him for a second wind.

With regards to the Tests in South Africa, the selectors have named an 18-member squad, which includes Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane - two batters who have been struggling for form of late. Missing the touring contingent are Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, and Axar Patel, who are nursing injury and will undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar will also miss the tour with injury.

The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur who missed the home series against New Zealand because of rest and niggle have also been named in the Test team, which is looking for its first-ever series win on South African soil. With Jadeja out, the selectors have named only two spinners - R Ashwin and Jayant Yadav - as they felt there is no need for a third spinner for the tour. 

Squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), 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.


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