Ex-India keeper surprised with Jasprit Bumrah named vice-captain for SA ODIs, feels Pant had 'more chances'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jan 01, 2022, 08:40 PM IST


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On December 31, India's 18-man squad for the South Africa ODIs was announced. With KL Rahul named captain in Rohit Sharma's absence, Jasprit Bumrah was made his deputy; surprising former Indian keeper-batter.

BCCI, on December 31 (Friday), named a strong 18-man squad for India's upcoming three-match ODI series versus Temba Bavuma-led South Africa, starting on January 19. With Rohit Sharma ruled out due to injury concerns, KL Rahul was named the captain along with speedster Jasprit Bumrah becoming his deputy. While the move was lauded by many, as Bumrah has shown he possesses a sharp mind, it has surprised former Indian keeper and national selector Saba Karim. 

Karim felt that with Rahul named captain, Rishabh Pant would've been the vice-captain as the 24-year-old is already being touted to be considered for captaincy in future. In this regard, Karim told India News, "I was extremely surprised, I was not expecting Jasprit Bumrah to be made the vice-captain. I was hoping that Rishabh Pant had more chances to be made the vice-captain because he is also a multi-format player, he plays all the three formats. Pant's performances as captain of the Delhi Capitals have been very good. We are seeing how he reads the match, he has a lot of game awareness."

He added, "Jasprit Bumrah has the talent, his role is very important for the Indian team but he has not captained anywhere till now. So it is slightly surprising. I was feeling that Rishabh Pant was the first candidate as vice-captain."

For the unversed, Pant has led Delhi Capitals (DC) in IPL 2021 and took them to the playoffs as well. On the other hand, Bumrah has not even donned the vice-captain's hat for Mumbai Indians (MI), the franchise he represents in the cash-rich league since 2015. 

Meanwhile, former all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi has given his thumbs up to Bumrah's elevation as vice-captain. He told, "I have said earlier as well that Jasprit Bumrah is captaincy material. It is a huge myth that fast bowlers cannot be captains. Fast bowlers read the game very well and the big reason for Jasprit Bumrah being made the vice-captain is that he is a performer across the formats."

He further opined, "We can take a leaf out of the book of the Australians. Pat Cummins was made the captain, there was a lot of criticism but Australia is 3-0 ahead in the Ashes and Pat Cummins has given a terrific performance. Jasprit Bumrah being made the vice-captain is a signal that he can captain the country in the coming days."

It will be interesting to see how Rahul-Bumrah lead the side in the upcoming ODIs, which will get underway at Paarl on January 19 post the ongoing Test series in the rainbow nation. The ODI squad is well-oiled with several experienced campaigners and young guns in the mix.

India's squad for SA ODIs:

KL Rahul (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Venktesh Iyer, Ishan Kishan, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rishabh Pant, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar