- KL Rahul will lead India in the first ODI against South Africa.
- Rahul was named captain for this series as Rohit was out with an injury.
- First ODI will be played in Paarl from January 19th.
Paarl: India and South Africa will lock horns in a three-match ODI series, with the first match set to be played on Wednesday in Paarl. Rahul was named as India’s captain for the three ODIs in South Africa as Rohit Sharma failed to recover from a hamstring injury. Rahul will be the 26th cricketer to lead India in an ODI match and he will be the first one to make his ODI captaincy debut in South Africa. No other Indian player has made his ODI captaincy debut in South Africa.
Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane were the last two Indian cricketers who made their ODI captaincy debuts in an away match and both of them ended up on the winning side. When asked about his captaincy in the pre-match virtual press conference on the eve of the first ODI, Rahul said: “I think I take every game as it comes. I am not really someone who gets worried or gets too happy. I stay balanced with the results; there were a lot of learnings from the Johannesburg Test. I have learned a lot from both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, I am human, I will make mistakes along the way but I will learn and get better. That’s where my mind is at. The ODI series is a fresh start and it is a great opportunity for me to lead the side.”
The current South Africa tour has been a landmark one for KL Rahul in more ways than one. He started the tour with a century, becoming the first India opener after Wasim Jaffer to register three figures in a Test match in South Africa in the series opener in Centurion. In the next Test in Johannesburg, he got the honour to lead India as regular captain Virat Kohli was ruled out due to an upper back spasm. The right-hander scored fifty in India’s first innings but the hosts the lost the match. India lost the last Test in Cape Town as South Africa took the series 2-1 but Rahul ended up as India’s top scorer in the series and was one of the very few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing display by the batters.