End of the road for Virat & Rohit as new blood led by SKY takes charge?


Rohit Sharma during the post-match presentation after Australia beat India by 6 wickets in the World Cup finals (ANI)

For the three ODI games, KL Rahul will take the captaincy charge. The 50-over format will also see the return of Yuzvendra Chahal and Sanju Samson

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Skipper Rohit Sharma and stalwart batter Virat Kohli are set to return to the field after World Cup heartbreak during India’s tour of South Africa but only for the Test format. However, Rohit and Virat will only feature in the red ball format and will miss the white ball cricket. In Rohit’s absence, Suryakumar Yadav will continue to assume the captaincy role of the team in the T20 format and Ravindra Jadeja will act as his deputy for the same.

For the three ODI games, KL Rahul will take the captaincy charge. The 50-over format will also see the return of Yuzvendra Chahal and Sanju Samson. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced the squad for the Proteas tour which is set to begin in December.

“The Men’s Selection Committee met in New Delhi on Thursday to pick Team India’s squad for the upcoming all-format tour of South Africa. The Indian team will participate in three T20Is, three ODIs and two Test matches. During the tour, India A will also play two four-day matches against South Africa A and one inter-squad three-day match,” a statement from BCCI read.

The ODI World Cup 2023 finalists squadron is once again re-assembling for their upcoming quest to of the T20 World Cup. BCCI announced the contract extension of head coach Rahul Dravid and the rest of the management.

Dravid’s second stint with Team India will be the tour of South Africa which is slated to begin on December 10, consisting of three ODIs and T20Is each and two Tests. The red-ball leg will start from December 26.

The tour will begin with the three-match T20I affair on December 10 at the Kingsmead Stadium. The second T20I will be played on December 12 at the St George’s Oval. The 20-over format will conclude on December 14 at the Wanderers Stadium.

The 50-over clash will kick off on December 17 at the Wanderers Stadium. The second and final ODI will be played on December 19 and December 21 respectively.

India’s squad for Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.

India’s squad for 3 T20Is: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (C), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (VC), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar.

India’s squad for 3 ODIs: 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, Deepak Chahar.

Suryakumar Yadav and Rinku Singh celebrate after winning the 2nd T20I match against Australia by 44 runs (ANI)

“Rohit and Virat were crying,” reveals Ashwin

Indian veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room after Men in Blue’s loss to Australia in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Ahmedabad and also lauded skipper Rohit Sharma’s leadership skills throughout the tournament.

Another heartbreak was added to the list for Indian fans as Australia beat Men in Blue by six wickets in the final of the Cricket World Cup at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19, continuing the Men in Blue’s drought of ICC trophies since 2014. Australia captured its record-extending sixth World Cup title.

Ashwin revealed during his conversation with former Indian cricketer Subramaniam Badrinath on the latter’s Youtube channel that senior players skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were crying following the loss and these two “natural leaders” created a vibe within the team.

“Yes, we felt the pain. Rohit and Virat were crying. Seeing that it felt bad. Anyways, not meant to be. This team was an experienced team. Everybody knew what to do. And then, it was professional. Everybody knew their routines, and warm-ups. I think two natural leaders gave the team the space to do these two and created a vibe,” said Ashwin.

Ashwin lauded Rohit Sharma’s captaincy for leading the team from the front, going after the bowlers from ball one. The all-rounder said that Rohit is an outstanding person with a great understanding of everyone.

“If you look at Indian cricket, everybody will tell you MS Dhoni is one of the best captains. Rohit Sharma is an outstanding person. He understands every single person in the team, he knows what each one of us likes and dislikes. He has a great understanding. He puts in the effort to know each member personally,” said Ashwin.

Ashwin said that Rohit often ignored his sleep to become a part of team meetings.

“He puts in a lot of effort. Forgoes sleep and becomes part of meetings, he first puts in the effort. He takes an effort to understand how to explain tactics to each person. That’s an advanced level of leadership in Indian cricket,” said Ashwin.

The spin-bowling all-rounder hailed Rohit for “walking the talk” with the bat.

“And also, walking the talk. Telling everyone to play a brand of cricket is one thing, but doing it and showing it on the field is another thing. I have known Rohit for a long time. What he did at the top set the ball rolling. he gave us the confidence. He said ‘it is okay if we get out for 150. At least we will set the tone, instill fear’. I think all 11 in the team had a great World Cup,” concluded Ashwin.

“I haven’t signed anything yet”: Rahul Dravid

Head coach Rahul Dravid on Thursday stated that he hasn’t signed any papers regarding the length of his contract extension with Team India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced the extension of contracts for head coach Rahul Dravid and the support staff of Team India (Senior Men).

“The BCCI engaged in productive discussions with Rahul Dravid after the term of his contract ended following the recently concluded ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 and unanimously agreed to further the tenure,” BCCI said in an official statement.

However, the official statement from BCCI didn’t state the contract length of Dravid as well as the rest of the staff.

When quizzed about his contract length Dravid said, “It’s announced officially, I haven’t signed anything yet, let the papers come officially from the BCCI.”.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour, fielding coach T Dilip and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey will continue their stint with Team India as BCCI also extended contracts of the support staff of Team India.

Dravid’s second stint with Team India will be the tour of South Africa from December 10, which will have three ODIs and T20Is each and two Tests. The red-ball leg will start from December 26.

Following that will be a five-match Test series against England at home, before the ICC T20 World Cup in June in West Indies/USA.

Dravid replaced Ravi Shastri following a disappointing ICC T20 World Cup campaign in 2021, which saw India exit in the Super 12 stage. He was appointed for a two-year term, which ended with India’s runners-up finish in the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup at home.

After the announcement of the contract extension, Dravid said, “The last two years with Team India have been thoroughly memorable. Together, we have witnessed the highs and lows, and throughout this journey, the support and camaraderie within the group have been phenomenal. I am genuinely proud of the culture we have set in the dressing room. It’s a culture that stands resilient, whether in moments of triumph or adversity. The skills and talent that our team possesses are phenomenal, and what we’ve stressed is following the right process and sticking to our preparations, which has had a direct impact on the overall result.”

“I thank the BCCI and the Office Bearers for placing their trust in me, endorsing my vision, and providing support during this period. The demands of this role necessitate considerable time away from home, and I deeply appreciate my family’s sacrifices and support. Their instrumental role behind the scenes has been invaluable. As we embrace new challenges post the World Cup, we remain committed to the pursuit of excellence,” he added.

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