Versatile Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja were also not selected as they were out of form while senior pacemaker Mohammed Shami, who is in the squad for the current Test series, was at the rest.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah was named the team’s vice-captain.
“Rohit Sharma is out of shape, he’s in rehab and he won’t be competing in the ODI series in South Africa. He’s been working and building up his fitness. We never wanted to take any chances with him.” , said head coach Chetan Sharma. before announcing the team.
TEAM: KL Rahul (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iy… https://t.co/ZEmemKDsfb
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“We are looking to prepare KL Rahul. He has proven his leadership qualities. KL is the best who can manage the team.
“Yeah definitely we are watching KL Rahul right now, he is an all format player and he has a good experience as captain, and the most important (thing) is we can see he has proven his qualities of leadership, that’s what all the breeders think.
KL Rahul (Photo ANI)
“Rohit is out of form so we thought KL would be the best, able to manage the team and that’s why we have good confidence in (Rahul) and are preparing him.”
The three-game ODI series kicks off at Paarl on January 19. The second match will also be played in Paarl on January 21 while the third will take place in Cape Town on January 23.
Rohit and Jadeja were undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru after being left out of the ongoing Test series in South Africa due to injuries.
In fact, the selection meeting was supposed to take place earlier – right after the Vijay Hazare trophy – but it was pushed back just to make sure Rohit had a chance to pass the fitness test.
“We thought if Rohit was 100% fit, there was no chance of getting injured, so he shouldn’t miss an important series. If he wasn’t 100% fit, we thought we wouldn’t take a risk and the five selectors decided not to take a risk,” Sharma said.
Rohit Sharma (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)
All the coaches have spoken with Rohit about his physical condition.
Rohit, who was named ODI captain earlier this month replacing Virat Kohli, was due to travel to South Africa as vice-captain for the Test series which started on December 26, but an injury to the hamstrings during training ruled him out. He took over as captain of the T20I against New Zealand last month.
On Shami’s rest, Sharma said, “Looking at the workload management of our fast bowlers, we’re resting it.”
Jadeja was previously ruled out of the South Africa tour due to a knee injury he suffered during New Zealand’s home Test series last month.
Sharma said the selection committee took into account the performances of national cricketers and some of the young talents were discussed during the meeting.
“All five of us believe in national cricket. Many youngsters have come to play national cricket before, especially like Ruturaj, Venkatesh Iyer. Washington Sundar did very well after his injury, came back and played national cricket, and he made his way to the Indian side for the ODIs,” Sharma said.
“A few other young players we discussed are Ravi Bishnoi, Rishi Dhawan who have done well in domestic cricket, Mushtaq Ali as well as Vijay Hazare. They will definitely get their chances in the future (thanks to managing the Another dashing drummer Shahrukh Khan was also mentioned, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan as well.”
The squad: KL Rahul (captain), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin , Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj.