Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: AFP

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BCCI has decided to delay the selection committee meeting for the ODIs in South Africa till the end of this month to get a clear picture of new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma’s left-hamstring injury status.  Rohit Sharma has been doing his rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) but it could still take some time for the Indian captain to regain full fitness.

In the India tour of South Africa 2021-22, after the Test series concludes, the teams will play a three-match One Day Internationals (ODI) series which will begin from January 19, 2022, at the Boland Park, Paarl. The second One Day International will be played at Boland Park, Paarl on January 21, 2022, and the third and final One Day International will be played on January 23, 2022, at the Newlands, Cape Town.

BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
BCCI (File Photo| PTI)

BCCI Decides To Delay Naming ODI Squad For South Africa ODI Series

Earlier, the BCCI selection meeting was supposed to be held just after Vijay Hazare Trophy but it has been pushed back only to ensure that Rohit Sharma gets a chance to pass the fitness test.

“The team selection meeting will happen after the first Test. It could be on December 30 or 31st but the BCCI is yet to take a final call. Rohit is pulling all stops to get fit but hamstring injuries are a bit different from other injuries.”

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“It has been learnt that Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are unavailable for selection. About Rohit, a call will be taken closer to the selection date,” a senior BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.

Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel’s unavailability has opened the door for Ravichandran Ashwin to make an ODI comeback after four years. In T20I World Cup 2021, senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had impressive figures of 2 for 14 on his white-ball comeback against Afghanistan, then 1/29 against Scotland, and 3/20 against Namibia.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has played 5 T20Is since his comeback in the limited-overs format after a gap of 4 years. He has picked 9 scalps at an average of 11.66 and an economy rate of 5.25, and a strike rate of 13.3.

KL Rahul Will Lead In Case Rohit Sharma Fails To Clear Fitness Test

In case new ODI skipper Rohit Sharma is not fit in time for the ODIs, KL Rahul will be leading India for the first time in a bilateral series.

“It could well happen that Rohit is not fit by the time of selection cut-off but then with the first ODI still three weeks away, he could get enough time to be with the team and regain full fitness closer to the date. In that case, he can be selected subject to fitness. These are things that chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma needs to check,” the BCCI official said.

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

As of now, Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the two youngsters who will be part of the ODI squad on the basis of their performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and IPL 2021. M Shahrukh Khan’s name, who has impressed one and all as a finisher during the Vijay Hazare Trophy, might come up for discussion.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli was recently removed from white-ball captaincy and Rohit Sharma was appointed as the new captain of the Indian team in limited-overs cricket and he was also given the vice-captain’s role in Test cricket. However, he suffered a hamstring injury and was ruled out of the South Africa Test series and KL Rahul was named as the new Test vice-captain.

Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan who has lost his spot in T20I and Test side is expected to retain his place in the ODI team for the South Africa tour. The opening batsman KL Rahul was unbeaten on 122 when the play ended on Day 1 of the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. His century took India to 272/3 in 90 overs.

No play was possible on the second day though as the incessant rain kept the ground under covers.