Ajinkya Rahane's vice captaincy, Ishant Sharma's place in doubt in India's Test team for South Africa tour

New Delhi, India Published: Dec 07, 2021, 09:59 PM(IST)

India ae scheduled to tour South Africa for a Test and ODI series this month. Photograph:( AFP )

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A number of selection headaches have cropped up for the national selectors ahead of India's tour of South Africa this month. Ajinkya Rahane is likely to be replaced as vice-captain of the Test team.

Ajinkya Rahane is expected to keep his place in the Indian team but whether he would remain vice-captain remains to be seen when the selectors announce the Test squad for tour of South Africa on Wednesday.

It is learnt that announcement of ODI squad could be delayed as the first match is on January 19 and the sensitive issue of Virat Kohli's future as white-ball leader is at stake.

However, Rahane, whose place in the playing XI is under doubt, will find it difficult to retain his vice-captaincy after 12 consecutive failures that led the team management to dropping him from the Mumbai Test on the pretext of hamstring niggles.

If Rahane is stripped of Test vice-captaincy, senior batter Rohit Sharma is the front runner for the job.

Similarly, Ishant Sharma, who has played more than 100 Test matches, doesn't look the force to reckon with anymore and he might not fit in the team, whether it's a three or four-pronged pace attack that India may use.

The likes of Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan may join Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

With Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill and in-form Hanuma Vihari set for the middle order, one between Priyank Panchal or Abhimanyu Easwaran could be the back up No. 3 for Cheteshwar Pujara.

Likely India Squad (maximum 20 players):

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Chesteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan/Deepak Chahar, Wriddhiman Saha, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Abhimanyu Easwaran/Priyank Panchal, Jayant Yadav. 

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