Rohit Sharma returns to captain India in T20Is against South Africa

India is set to play three T20Is and ODIs against the Proteas next month.

Rohit Sharma will return to lead Team India in the three-match T20I series of the upcoming white-ball tour of South Africa. Meanwhile, KL Rahul will lead the side in the One Day format.

Rohit will be rested from India’s ODI assignments after he captained the team to the final of the recently held World Cup on home soil. Despite strutting through 10 matches without a sweat, India failed to capture glory and lost the final against Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmebadad. However, Rohit will come back to take charge of the side in Tests as well.

With Hardik Pandya not being available because of injury, the selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar decided to name Rohit as the T20I captain. Rohit has not played in this format since India’s semi-final loss to England in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. In his absence, Pandya had proved himself as an eligible successor and led the side well.

However, his injury along with Rohit’s explosive starts and smart captaincy at the World Cup forced the selectors to rethink their decision. The Indian captain was responsible for aggressive starts with the bat in the powerplay which set the tone for the rest of the batting unit to follow. If Rohit is able to follow similar intent in T20s, it has the potential to be beneficial for India in the shortest format as well.

While Hardik earned his leadership badge by winning the IPL in 2022 with Gujarat Titans, who also made the final last season, he has never led an Indian team that has included the senior quartet of Rohit, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah.

As was reported earlier, Virat Kohli - who finished as the highest-scorer of the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup - has decided to forego white-ball cricket and will be taking a break instead. He has informed the BCCI of the same but will be available for the two Test matches against South Africa. Like Rohit, he too hasn’t played T20Is for India since the 2022 T20 World Cup.

“He (Kohli) has informed the BCCI and selectors that he needs a break from white-ball cricket and he will get back to them about when he wants to play white ball cricket next. At the moment he has informed the BCCI that he will be playing red-ball cricket, which means he is available for selection for the two Test matches in South Africa,” a source said.

The selection of Sanju Samson in the ODI team was also a major highlight for Team India while Rajat Patidar, who has recovered from injury, also finds a place. Suryakumar Yadav, who has been playing non-stop cricket of late, has been rested.

Shreyas Iyer makes his way to the Indian Test side but there were no places for veterans Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane. The reason behind the Indian selection committee picking Iyer over Ajinkya Rahane in Tests is because Rahane had made way back in the Indian team after Iyer got injured. As Iyer has regained his fitness, the selection committee and Indian captain Rohit Sharma felt that Iyer should make a comeback in the Indian side.