Captaincy comes with a lot of responsibility and KL Rahul is used to it as he has already captained Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for two consecutive years.
Team India’s newly-appointed white-ball captain Rohit Sharma was on Friday ruled out of the upcoming ODI series against South Africa due to a hamstring injury, forcing the selectors to appoint Rahul as skipper of the selected 18-member team.
“Rohit Sharma is not fit, he is in rehab and he is not going for the ODI series in South Africa. He is working on and building on his fitness. We never wanted to take chance with him,” the Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma said before announcing the ODI squad.
“We are looking to groom KL Rahul and we have confidence in him. He has proved his leadership qualities. KL is the best one who can handle the side. He is an all-format player and he has got good experience of captaincy… this is what all selectors think,” he added.
The former Indian all-rounder also revealed that the selectors are currently not thinking beyond the 2022 T20 World Cup.
“We are definitely preparing for the 2023 (50-over) World Cup but our first aim is the T20 World Cup. We are not thinking beyond that,” Sharma said.
“We have no right to assume who will be fit or not. No one wants to be unfit. We are grooming KL Rahul and we also have [Jasprit] Bumrah. We want them to learn and that will be good for Indian cricket.”
The South Africa versus India ODI series will begin on January 19 at the Boland Park in Paarl. The second ODI match will take place on January 21 at the same venue and the third ODI will be at the Newlands, Cape Town on January 23.