Due to injury, KL Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav have been ruled out of the five-match T20I series against South Africa. While Kuldeep was hit in the right hand while batting in the nets at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, where the first game will be played on Thursday, Rahul, who was selected captain of the side in the absence of Rohit Sharma, has picked up a right groyne injury.
In Rahul’s absence, the team will be headed by Rishabh Pant, the designated vice-captain. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya is registered as the vice-captain, who recently guided the Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title.
Pant is captaining for the first time at the international level, but he has led the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League. Moreover, the 24-year-old has led them in 30 games, with 17 victories and 13 defeats.
Pant, who plays domestic cricket for Delhi, said
“It’s a great feeling, especially getting an opportunity like this in your hometown,”
“There is nothing bigger than this. It didn’t come under very good circumstances but I will try to make most of it and give my 100%.”.
“I think it [having captained in the IPL] will help me a lot because when you keep doing the same thing over a period of time, you tend to improve. I am someone who keeps on learning from my mistakes and that’s something which is going to help me in the coming days as well.”
Pant also hinted at India playing a different kind of cricket in the coming days, without getting into specifics.
Meanwhile, both Rahul and Kuldeep will report to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, where the medical staff will “evaluate them further.
Who will replace Rahul and Kuldeep in the Indian squad?
The board has made no attempt to find a substitute for the injured pair. While Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan are set to open the innings for India in Rahul’s absence.
The team management has options in the spin department in the form of Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi to pair with Yuzvendra Chahal.
Indian Squad: Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.