The India tour of South Africa is set to get underway on December 26. At one point, the tour was on the verge of getting postponed after Omicron swept the African nation. However, BCCI stood behind Cricket South Africa and agreed to go ahead with the tour. The T20Is though were postponed for later.
With just a week to go before the team’s departure, the squad announcement for the tour is expected anytime soon. The selection panel led by Chetan Sharma will have a few tough decisions to make. Few senior players have not performed as they would have hoped for, while a few youngsters are making their case strong due to their performance in the domestic circuit as well in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
If reports are to be believed, veteran batter Shikhar Dhawan is likely to return to the Indian squad for the ODI series. The southpaw was last seen in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. He led the team to a 2-1 series win. For the Test team, a report in Times of India states that vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are set to retain their places.
Rahane and Pujara have endured a lean patch in Tests this year. The former has hit just one century against Australia and is averaging below 25. Rahane failed to get going in the two-match Test series against New Zealand as well. Pujara’s case is not different either. The right-hand batter has got starts but has not converted them into big scores.
He started the year on a good note against Australia but was found wanting against England in home and away Test matches, and also in the recent series against New Zealand. The selectors though are ready to give the senior players a longer rope.
Rahane though might lose the Test deputyship. Reports mentioned that since he is not an automatic choice, the selectors might name Rohit Sharma as Kohli’s deputy in the longest format. India will play three Tests and three ODIs in South Africa.