Kohli and Rohit rested for white-ball games in SA; Suryakumar to lead in T20Is, Rahul in ODIs

Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul put on 80 off 85 balls for the fifth wicket AFP/Getty Images

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have taken a break from the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour next month. As a result, Suryakumar Yadav will continue to lead the T20I side and KL Rahul will take over the ODI captaincy once again.

Suryakumar gets to continue in the leadership role after the ongoing T20I series against Australia because Hardik Pandya, who had been leading in the format after the T20 World Cup last year, is still out with an ankle injury he picked up during the recent ODI World Cup.

Both Kohli and Rohit have not played any T20Is since the T20 World Cup last year when they lost to England in the semi-finals in Adelaide.

After taking a break from the current T20I series against Australia that started just four days after the World Cup final against the same opponents, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj all returned to the T20I squad for the South Africa tour. The players who make way for them are Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan. Axar and Avesh are, however, part of the ODI squad, and Prasidh in the Test side.

While the batting line-up mostly remains the same for the T20Is, the bowling attack will have a lot more experience with the return of Jadeja, Chahar, Kuldeep and Siraj, perhaps a hint towards how the team management and selectors are thinking for the T20 World Cup just more than six months away.

The ODI squad sees a lot more changes with only Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Kuldeep retained from the ODI World Cup squad. Rinku Singh and B Sai Sudharsan earned their maiden ODI call-ups whereas Rajat Patidar was recalled after he had been part of the squad earlier this year against New Zealand as a replacement for Iyer, but didn't get a game then. Also back in the ODI side were Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh, Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar, who also recently returned to the T20I set-up for the Australia series.

Chahal has picked up nine wickets in the last week in four one-day games for Haryana in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, including a six-for against Uttarakhand. Samson, too, is representing Kerala in the tournament but has managed just one fifty in four innings for a total of 101 runs at an average of 25.25.

Unlike for the Test and T20I squads, the BCCI release did not name a vice-captain for the ODIs.

Rahul was the India vice-captain during the World Cup after Pandya's injury and has led the ODI side in nine games overall, the first of which was in South Africa in early 2022, when India were whitewashed 3-0. Rahul soon led India again, for a 3-0 series win in Zimbabwe later that year. He has also captained India in the absence of Rohit in three other ODIs all of which they won - one in Bangladesh in December last year and twice against Australia in the home ODIs before the recent World Cup.

Since his return to the ODI side for the Asia Cup in September after a long injury layoff, Rahul has been a crucial middle-order batter for India mostly at No. 5. He has averaged 75.70 and struck at 92.54 in 16 innings since his return, with two centuries and four half-centuries.

India's squads for the T20I, ODI and Test tour of South Africa were announced a day after the BCCI extended Rahul Dravid's tenure as head coach after his initial two-year contract had come to an end following the defeat to Australia in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad.

After the ongoing five-T20I series against Australia ends on December 3, India have only six more T20Is scheduled as of now before next year's T20 World Cup, apart from IPL 2024. They play three matches in South Africa on December 10, 12 and 14, and then host Afghanistan for three matches in January next year.

India's T20I squad for South Africa: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (capt), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-capt), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar

India's ODI squad for South Africa: Ruturaj Gaikwad, B Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (capt & wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar