KL Rahul to lead India in ODI series if Rohit not fit; decision on selection pushed to end of week

PTI, Dec 28, 2021, 9:55 AM IST

The 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 on new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma’s left-hamstring injury status.

Rohit has been doing his rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) but it could still take some time for the Indian captain to regain full fitness.

“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.

“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 told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Jadeja and Axar’s unavailability has opened the door for R Ashwin to make an ODI comeback after four years.

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

In case Rohit 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 official said.

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 Vijay Hazare Trophy.

M Shahrukh Khan’s name, who has impressed one and all as a finisher during the Hazare Trophy, might come up for discussion.

It needs to be seen whether selectors pick him for this tour or keep him ready for the home series against Sri Lanka and West Indies as a T20 option.

Shikhar Dhawan, the veteran opener despite his poor run of form in the domestic event, might be retained.

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