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Rahul named captain for South Africa ODIs, Rohit ruled out; Ashwin returns (Ld)

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New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) The BCCI on Friday announced the India squad for three-match ODI series against South Africa, naming KL Rahul as the skipper of the 18-member side, with newly-appointed skipper Rohit Sharma still unavailable due to injury.

The 34-year old Sharma was appointed captain of the ODI team earlier this month as he replaced Virat Kohli, who had stepped down from the role of T20I captaincy as well.

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However, Rohit suffered a hamstring injury during a net session ahead of India’s departure for South Africa and was ruled out of the Test series. The star batter is now doing his rehab at National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and will miss the upcoming ODI series.

Rahul, who is currently the vice-captain of the Test team in South Africa, will now lead the ODI team in absence of Rohit while pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be his deputy.

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“Rohit is not fit, he is in rehab. We never wanted to take a chance with him,” the BCCI chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma said.

“We are looking to groom KL Rahul. He has proved his leadership qualities. KL is the best one who can handle the side,” he added.

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Meanwhile, the veteran off-spinner R Ashwin, who last played an ODI in 2017, has also been recalled to the side for the series.

The squad also includes several young players who have impressed in the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, with the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer making the cut.

The chief selector also said that other performers of the tournament who were considered for selection included Shahrukh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, and Rishi Dhawan.

Pacer Mohammed Shami has been rested as a part of workload management while all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel were unavailable for selection due to injuries.

India squad: KL Rahul (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Y Chahal, R Ashwin, W Sundar, J Bumrah (VC), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj

–IANS

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