India vs South Africa 2021-22: From KL Rahul to Ravichandran Ashwin - 5 players to watch out during the ODIs
India and South Africa will clash in three ODIs after the conclusion of the ongoing Tests. KL Rahul will lead the side, with Rohit Sharma being unfit. Here are the five players to watch out for.
India is currently focused on the three-Test series in South Africa for the Freedom Trophy 2021-22, where it leads 1-0 after winning the opening Test. After the Tests, things will move to the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the 18-member squad for the same on New Year's Eve on Friday.
New ODI skipper Rohit Sharma will be missing out on the series, having failed to recover on time from his hamstring injury. Wicketkeeper-opener KL Rahul has been appointed as the stand-in captain for the series, while pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be the vice-captain. Meanwhile, we look at the five players who can make an impact.
The wicketkeeper-opener has been in flawless form across formats. He is sure to continue with the same, and his innings as an opener will play a pivotal role in deciding the match's pace and the series. Although it would be his first outing as the Indian skipper, he has loads of experience through the domestic circuit, especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL), having led Punjab Kings (PBKS).
The senior Indian opener has struggled for form, while his inclusion in the side has raised some eyebrows. The last ODI series he featured in was last year in Sri Lanka, where he had led the side. However, he had a below-par performance. Although he finished as Delhi Capitals' (DC) highest run-scorer in IPL 2021, he has managed just 56 from five in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Thus, it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Venkatesh has been grabbing eyeballs since he broke out during IPL 2021 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He had a decent outing in his Twenty International (T20I) debut series at home against New Zealand. As he makes his way into the ODIs, he is expected to continue his free-scoring form. Also, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer for Madhya Pradesh in VHT, he happens to be in form. But, playing in SA will pose a different challenge.
The Maharashtra opener made news in the VHT for scoring four centuries in five matches. He finished as the tournament's highest run-scorer, earning him a sure-shot ticket to South Africa. Judging by his form, it makes him a confident performer. However, with vastly different conditions in SA, it would surely be a challenge he would like to thrive upon.
The veteran all-rounder has been making heavy impacts in the longest format. Consequently, his consistency earned him a recall to the shortest format. While now, the selectors have given him a chance to prove his mettle once again in the ODIs. He makes his return to the format after nearly five years. But will the South African pitches give him enough opportunity to spin the yarn?
IND ODI squad vs SA: KL Rahul (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj.