Captaincy Question: Is KL Rahul Set to Lead India in T20I and ODI Series against South Africa?

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KL Rahul, who has not played a T20I since February this year, is expected to make a comeback and could lead the side in the T20I series against South Africa. India’s tour of South Africa is set to begin from December 10, 2023, with three T20Is, followed by three ODIs and two Test matches. The T20I series will be crucial for India in their preparation for the next T20 World Cup in 2024. However, the big question is, who will lead the Indian side in the shortest format for the series? Suryakumar Yadav is currently leading the Indian side for the ongoing 5-match T20I series against Australia in the absence of senior players. However, with the return of star players like Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, it will be interesting to see who will get the responsibility to lead the side. Will Rohit Sharma make a comeback in T20Is? Since the T20 World Cup last year, where India lost to England in the semifinals, Rohit Sharma, and former skipper, Virat Kohli, have not been part of the T20I setup. The duo decided to focus more on the ODI format, as 2023 was an ODI World Cup year. However, they recently opted to take a break from the white-ball cricket after the conclusion World Cup, where India finished as the runners-up to Australia. The BCCI is keen to get Rohit back as the captain for the T20Is for at least the T20 World Cup 2024. However, the Indian opener has not given any indication of his availability for the T20I series against South Africa. In case Rohit decides to continue to stay away from T20Is, the most likely candidate to lead India in the T20Is will be KL Rahul, who is the vice-captain of the team. While the squad and skipper announcement is yet to be made, it seems the offical broadcaster has already hinted that KL Rahul might be leading the Indian side in the shortest format. Notably, Rahul was recently appointed as the deputy to Rohit Sharma, after Hardik Pandya got ruled out of the World Cup due to an ankle injury. With Pandya set to be on sidelines for 8-10 weeks, Rahul will have to take charge of the team in South Africa. Notably, the star wicketkeeper batter has experience of leading India in the past. His last match as stand in captain was against Australia in first two ODIs in September this year. KL Rahul overall captaincy record Matches Won Lost Tied Draw No Result Win% 13 9 4 0 0 0 69.23 Rahul’s last T20I match was against Australia in in February this year. He has not played a T20I since then but is expected to make a comeback in the T20I series against South Africa, and the selectors might provide him a big responsibility of leading the team in the challenging conditions.

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