IND vs SA: KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav ruled out the series; Rishabh Pant to lead

Hardik Pandya has been named Pant's deputy.

KL Rahul
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Lokesh Rahul of India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Pratyay Tiwari
PRATYAY TIWARI

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India’s stand-in skipper KL Rahul has been ruled out of South Africa T20Is with a groin injury. As it stands, Rishabh Pant, who was named the vice-captain initially, will lead the team with Hardik Pandya as his deputy, the BCCI confirmed. 

Meanwhile, spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who only recently made his international comeback after falling out of favour, has met with a similar fate as he stands ruled out from the entire series after copping a blow on his right hand during practice. Both Rahul and Kuldeep will now head to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore “where the medical team will assess them further and decide on the future course of treatment,” the board said. It has been confirmed further that no replacements will be named.

Rahul was named captain in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who is one of the many premier players to be rested from the series upon the conclusion of the Indian Premier League 2022. India are set to host South Africa for five T20Is, with the series getting underway on June 9 at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rahul was last seen in action during the IPL 2022 where he led Lucknow Super Giants to the playoffs in their maiden season after finishing third on the points table. An Eliminator loss at the hands of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, however, meant that LSG could not qualify further. 

Pant, on the other hand, has added a fair bit of captaincy credentials to his cricketing CV after leading the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. However, the franchise could not go beyond the league stage in the most recent edition, missing out on the berth by just one spot as they finished fifth in the tally. However, this will be the first time Pant will lead at the international level.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the injury will impact Rahul’s participation on the England tour, where India will play the rescheduled fifth Test apart from three T20Is and ODIs each from July 1 to July 17. Rahul has been named as the deputy to Rohit Sharma in the Test squad.

India’s updated squad for South Africa T20Is: Rishabh Pant (c, wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik