Senior batsman Rohit Sharma has replaced Cheteshwar Pujara as India's vice-captain for the remaining two Tests in Australia. He will be the deputy to stand-in skipper and his Mumbai teammate Ajinkya Rahane.
Earlier, following regular captain Virat Kohli's departure after the first Test, Pujara was elevated to the position.
This announcement also confirms that Rohit Sharma will participate in the next 2 Tests. The flamboyant opener missed the limited-overs series and the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy owing to a hamstring injury.
After being declared fit in India, he was directly flown to Sydney, the venue for the 3rd Test. The 33-year-old then completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Rohit Sharma was seen to be receiving a warm welcome from teammates in Australia recently.
Sharma has already started high-intensity fielding drills and is also reportedly consulting batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Who will make way for Rohit Sharma in the 3rd Test?
Courtesy a complete team performance by India in Melbourne, the 4-Test series is leveled at one a piece. Generally, sides avoid making too many changes to a winning combination. However, Rohit Sharma's experience and technique makes him an exception.
Two batsmen have looked in poor form in the first 2 Tests - opener Mayank Agarwal and middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. Agarwal has recorded scores of 17, 9, 0 and 5 in his four innings. Vihari, on the other hand, has managed a high score of 21 in three innings.
One of them will have to make way for Sharma, depending on where the team wants to play him. The team will like to slate Sharma at his preferred slot at the top of the order. And Shubman Gill's brilliant debut might have rung the death knell for Agarwal.
As a leader, Sharma is the most successful IPL captain with five trophies in his kitty. He also won India the Asia Cup and the Nidahas Trophy in 2018. The right-hander has scored 279 runs Down Under at an average of 31.
He is set to face arguably his toughest Test assignment yet against Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon. Indian fans, on their part, will hope Rohit Sharma brings some of his ODI charisma to the Test field.Published 01 Jan 2021, 23:54 IST