The Indian selection committee has made significant changes to the ODI and Test squads for the upcoming South Africa series. Pacer Mohammed Shami, initially named in the provisional squad for the two-match Test series, has been ruled out due to a lack of fitness clearance from the BCCI Medical Team.
Shami, who suffered an ankle injury after the ODI World Cup where he emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 24 scalps, was unable to recover in time for the Test series against South Africa. The fast bowler’s absence marks a setback for the Indian team’s pace attack.
In another alteration to the ODI squad, medium-pacer Deepak Chahar has withdrawn due to a family emergency. Akash Deep, already in South Africa as part of the India A side, has been named as Chahar’s replacement.
“Batter Shreyas Iyer will only be available for the series-opening ODI on December 17. He will join the Test squad thereafter and won’t take any further part in the white-ball series,” the BCCI stated. After the first ODI in Johannesburg, Iyer will prepare for the Test series and will not participate in the second and third ODIs.
The updated ODI squad for the South Africa series includes players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (C)(wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, and Akash Deep.
Additionally, in a notable development regarding the support staff of Team India, head coach Rahul Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, and fielding coach T. Dilip will not accompany the ODI squad. Instead, they will join the Test squad to oversee preparations for the red-ball matches.
The ODI team will be assisted by India A’s Coaching Staff, comprising batting coach Sitanshu Kotak, bowling coach Rajib Datta, and fielding coach Ajay Ratra.
As the teams prepare for the series, India is set to play an inter-squad match in Pretoria between December 20-22 as part of the preparations for the Boxing Day Test. Key players like captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and R Ashwin have already left for South Africa and are expected to feature in the practice game.