Here's why India's selection panel did not pick the squad for South Africa tour
What's the story?
India's selection panel have announced the squads for the third Test in Delhi as well as the 3-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Contrary to expectations, they did not reveal the Test squad for the upcoming South Africa tour.
According to reports from ESPNCricinfo, the team announcement for the South Africa series was deferred as BCCI Secretary Amitabh Choudhary could not reach Nagpur due to unforeseen circumstances.
Choudhary, also the convenor of the selection panel, was ostensibly stuck in Mumbai due to flight delays. As a result, the selection committee - comprising MSK Prasad, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh - picked only the squads for the final Test against Sri Lanka and the subsequent ODI series.
The selection panel consisting of Choudhary, Prasad, Gandhi and Sarandeep were all originally intending to meet Indian captain Virat Kohli in their team hotel in Nagpur on Monday afternoon. However, in the convenor's absence, they could not have any feasible discussions regarding the Test squad for the South Africa series.
The heart of the matter
It is understood that the T20I squad for the 3-match series against Sri Lanka and the Test squad for the South Africa tour is likely to be picked in between the Delhi Test match. While skipper Kohli has been granted rest for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, it has been learnt that there may be a 'possibility' of him returning to white-ball action for the ensuing T20I series.
While Kohli has indeed publicly called for his workload to be monitored, it remains to be seen if the national selectors name a full-strength squad for the 3-match T20I series which will begin at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on December 20.
The third Test between India and Sri Lanka will take place at the Feroz Shah Kotla between December 2 and 6. The focus will then shift to the limited-overs formats as the two teams battle it out in 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The ODI series is scheduled to start at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on December 10.
Following the conclusion of the third T20I against Sri Lanka on the 24th, the Indian team will travel to South Africa for a full-fledged tour comprising 3 Tests, 6 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The visitors will begin their African safari with a two-day warm-up match at Boland Park in Paarl on December 30 and 31.
Considering the enormous hype surrounding what is expected to be a gruelling tour, announcing the Test squad early becomes extremely prudent. However, the exigent circumstances culminating in the absence of the convenor meant that the selection panel did not have any choice but to defer the announcement.
Hopefully, the selectors in consultation with skipper Kohli name the touring contingent for South Africa sooner rather than later.