KL Rahul to be India vice-captain for SA Test series

New Delhi, Dec 18 (PTI): Opener KL Rahul has been named as the Indian team’s vice captain for the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa, starting December 26, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on Saturday.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma was made deputy to Virat Kohli for the series but he was ruled out due to a recurring left-hamstring injury.
The 29-year-old Rahul has played 40 Tests so far and has scored 2321 runs at an average of 35.16, with six centuries under his belt. Importantly, he is being looked at as a long-term potential leader.
“The All-India Senior selection committee has named KL Rahul as vice-captain for the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. KL Rahul replaces Rohit Sharma as vice-captain, who was ruled out of the Test series owing to a hamstring injury,” Shah said in a statement.
The PTI had reported on December 13 that Rahul is the frontrunner for the vice-captaincy.
Rohit, who had replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the vice-captain for the Test series, suffered a left hamstring injury during the net session in Mumbai, which ruled him out for at least three to four weeks.
For the selectors, it was difficult to go back to Rahane who is no longer a certainty in the Test XI, and possibly, it is too early for Rishabh Pant to be elevated as vice captain of the national team.
Rahul, currently, is seen as one of the few all-format specialist batters.
Rahul has the right age and experience to be groomed for future when Kohli relinquishes Test leadership. He can take over the mantle for a longer duration.
It is also expected that Rahul will be the white-ball deputy to Rohit in the coming days. His name is also doing the rounds for captaining the new IPL Lucknow franchise.

India players warm up for South Africa Tests with footvolley

Centurion: The Indian cricket team is gradually increasing its training intensity as it adapts to the higher altitude ahead of the first Test against South Africa, here from December 26.
India arrive here via a chartered flight on Friday morning after three days of hard quarantine in Mumbai. The players had to isolate for a day in a resort here before they could have an outdoor session. In a video tweeted by BCCI on Saturday, the team members including head coach Rahul Dravid were seen enjoying a game of footvolley. The series is taking place amid the rising threat of COVID-19 following the emergence of the Omicron variant in southern Africa. India’s tour was put in serious doubt because of the prevailing situation but both the boards agreed to go ahead with the tour.
The visitors are staying in a resort which is entirely booked for them by Cricket South Africa to ensure a strict bubble is maintained through out the series. Since it is not the usual five-star hotel, the players have enough open space to move around the property.
The players have been vocal about tough life in the bio-bubbles.
India’s strength and conditioning coach Soham Desai gave an insight to what the players have been up to so far.
“We have had three days of hard quarantine in Mumbai and 10 hours of long flight and yesterday was again a hard quarantine here. So starting our skill sessions would have been high risk for the guys.
“So they just went for a run, stretched out and sweated it out and this game will help bridge the gap between inactivity and skill sessions which we start tomorrow.
“Also the schedule is such that we have to get going right away. We can only do so much. The elevation here is 1400 metres and we are coming from sea level so the guys will take two three days to adapt.”
Talking about players’ love for footvolley, Desai added, “This game can now be called the Indian cricket team game. We give them many other options but they end up choosing footvolley.
“They love it and they have their own battles within the team for years now. It helps them focus on the game and stay in a happy place.” PTI BS


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