The BCCI have named Rohit Sharma as the permanent captain of
the Indian test team, with the 34-year-old taking over the reins from Virat
Kohli to become the skipper across all formats. Kohli resigned from his post as
Indian Test captain in the wake of India’s 2-1 series defeat in South Africa,
and according to chief selector Chetan Sharma, Rohit Sharma was the ‘clear
choice’ to replace him as the leader in the longest format.
Rohit will lead a new-look India squad in the two-Test
series against Sri Lanka in Mohali and Bangalore that doesn’t include either
Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane. Both batters have come under massive
scrutiny for their poor form against the red ball in recent years, and the
penny has finally dropped with selector Chetan Sharma stating that ‘we will not
consider them for this series.’
Although Rahane and Pujara have been dropped from the side
alongside other senior statesmen Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha, the door is
still not closed for a potential return for any of the four veterans with the
selectors requesting them to play the Ranji Trophy to know where their game and
fitness is at.
Shubman Gill returns to the Test side after injury and is in
contention to take Pujara’s role in the top order at number three, while KS
Bharat replaces Wriddhiman Saha as the reserve wicket-keeper in the squad.
Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, makes a comeback to the Test
squad after missing the final Test against New Zealand and the tour to South
Africa due to injury. However, fellow all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin will only
make the cut subject to his fitness, with the world number two ranked bowler
currently undergoing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Jayant Yadav is the backup off-spinner selected in the side
alongside left-arm leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who last featured for India in
Test cricket against Chennai in February 2021. The star of that series, Axar
Patel, has been ruled out of the first Test in Mohali due to injury and Uttar
Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar has been added to the squad as cover
after his promising stint with India A in South Africa.
Washington Sundar and KL Rahul have been ruled out of the
series, while Shardul Thakur – who played all three Tests against South Africa
in December and January – has been rested.