Kohli and Rahul will sit out India's final T20 international ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022 as they aim to complete a clean sweep over the Proteas.
Both top-order batters have been among the runs recently since their respective returns. The pair have scored eight fifties and a hundred since the start of the 2022 Asia Cup and have found rhythm and form at the right time.
Rahul scored 57 off 28 balls in the second T20I against South Africa, earning him the 'Player of the Match' award. Kohli, meanwhile, scored a superb, unbeaten 49 from 28 balls to help India finish their innings on a high.
The Men in Blue are likely to bring Shreyas Iyer, who was named as the vice-captain for the ODI series, into the playing XI in place of Kohli. It remains to be seen who they deploy at the top of the order in Rahul's stead.
Aakash Chopra, however, believes the rested duo should have played India's final T20I before the World Cup. He said on his YouTube channel:
"I personally feel that why is there a need for rest when everything is going rather well?"
"Practice will continue, whether it be net sessions or warm-up matches, but when there is an international match left, why not play it?"
Rahul's first T20I of the ongoing year came at the Asia Cup 2022 after he missed several matches due to recurring injury issues. Kohli, on the other hand, was handed a long break following India's tour of England in July. He was rested for tours of the Caribbean and Zimbabwe before returning for the Asia Cup.
"Are there even enough batters in the squad to replace them in the playing XI?" - Aakash Chopra
Team India are currently without the services of Hardik Pandya, who has been a regular feature at No. 5. Pandya was rested for the series against South Africa to manage his workload.
With Rahul and Kohli rested for the series finale, it leaves the side short of batting options. Shreyas Iyer, who came into the side as a replacement for the injured Deepak Hooda, is among the viable candidates.
Stating that India will have to go into the contest with only five batters in their playing XI, Aakash Chopra said:
"Now Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will not be traveling with the team for the third T20I. Are there even enough batters in the squad to replace them in the playing XI? Iyer will be one, but who will be the other one?"
"Virat Kohli came into the Asia Cup after a long break, there was a 12-day break before the Australia series as well. Now he will get another 15-day break."
Shahbaz Ahmed could potentially make his debut in this fixture. The all-rounder has regularly featured as a pinch hitter in the lower-middle order for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
India will take on South Africa in the third and final T20I of the series on Tuesday, October 4, in Indore.
Will the Men in Blue complete a cleansweep over the visitors? Let us know what you think.