India will play three T20Is in South Africa in the month of December.

3 takeaways from India's T20I squad for South Africa series

The Indian selectors named squads across formats for the upcoming tour of South Africa that comprises 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and two Tests.

The T20I squad will be led by Suryakumar Yadav, who is currently captaining the Men in Blue in the 5-match rubber against Australia where the Indians lead 2-1 after three matches.

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While the ODI squad will be led by KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma will lead India in the two Tests that follow. A lot of eyes will be on how the team fares in the T20Is though with a World Cup scheduled to take place in the West Indies and the USA next year.

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Hardik Pandya, who has been leading India in the shortest format in majority of the games since last year's T20 World Cup, misses out as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that he picked up at the ODI World Cup.

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

On the back of the squad announcement, let's look at three key takeaways from India's 17-member touring party for the T20Is in South Africa.

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#1 The uncertainty over Rohit and Kohli's future continues

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The announcement from the BCCI declared that Rohit and Virat Kohli had requested for a break from the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour. While it reasons out why the experienced duo isn't a part of the first part of the tour, it certainly doesn't clear the air around their T20I future.

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Rumours and speculations have been rife, but India are scheduled to play just three more T20Is post the South Africa series, with Afghanistan touring India in January. With Kohli and Rohit not having played a T20I since last year's T20 World Cup, it doesn't add up if they were to walk straight back in considering how the incumbents in this period have taken their chances.

With no explicit announcement, the cloud over whether the two players in question will have a part to play at the T20 World Cup or not hasn't cleared just yet. But with both set to end 2023 without a single T20I under their belt, it's hard to expect them to make it to the event next year.


#2 Where is Axar Patel?

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Amidst all the discourse around Kohli and Rohit, Axar Patel's name is a shocking exclusion from India's T20I squad for the South Africa series. The left-arm spinning all-rounder has shown excellent rhythm with the ball in the ongoing rubber against Australia, while his batting form has been right up there for a good while now.

Four spinning options have been named with Ravi Bishnoi, Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav joining Ravindra Jadeja, who has surprisingly been appointed the vice-captain for this series.

It's a clear sign that the selectors still view Jadeja as the first-choice spinning all-rounder in white-ball cricket. He hasn't played a T20 match since being ruled out midway through the Asia Cup in the UAE last year, however, and his sudden inclusion comes as a surprise, notwithstanding the good run he had at the ODI World Cup recently.

With Axar left out in favor of Jadeja, are the selectors mixing formats again in the build-up to the T20 World Cup?

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#3 The return of Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj could well be one of India's bowling leaders at the T20 World Cup.
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The last time Mohammed Siraj featured in a T20I, he snared 4/17 against New Zealand and walked away as the Player of the Match in November 2022.

Since then, he has been missing from India's T20 squads with ODIs taking precedence. A swift rise has seen him top the ICC Rankings in the 50-over format apart from a solid IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), where he bagged 19 wickets at an economy rate of 7.50.

His return to the T20 setup for the South Africa tour is a sign that he is being looked at as one of the frontline seam bowling options for the World Cup. Jasprit Bumrah hasn't been named, but it can be said with certainty that he will be on that plane to the Caribbean and USA.

With Arshdeep Singh and Prasidh Krishna struggling in the format and the likes of Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan lacking experience, Siraj could be the solution to India's fast-bowling woes in the shortest format. Clearly, the selectors seem to be viewing it the same way.

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What do you make of India's T20I squad for the tour of South Africa? Have your say in the comments section below!


Also read: 3 important things for Rahul Dravid to address after contract extension as India coach

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Edited by
Siddharth Dhananjay
 
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