Hanuma Vihari back in senior squad, Wriddhiman Saha named as second wicketkeeper
In September, days before the T20 World Cup, Kohli announced he was stepping down as India’s T20I captain after the marquee tournament. India eventually failed to make the knockouts, following losses to Pakistan and New Zealand in the group stage. In his statement, Kohli said he was stepping down to deal with his “immense workload”. Kohli “felt” that decision would also allow him to be “fully ready” to lead India in Test and ODI cricket.
Rohit’s elevation to ODI captaincy officially brings an end to Kohli’s tenure as white-ball captain, one he took over full-time in January 2017. While his record makes for excellent reading – of the 60 captains to lead in 50 or more men’s ODIs, only three have a better win-loss record – India failed to win an ICC tournament under him. They finished runners-up at the 2017 Champions Trophy and were losing semi-finalists at the 50-over World Cup in 2019. In Kohli’s only T20 World Cup as captain, last month in the UAE, India crashed out after the group stage following back-to-back losses to Pakistan and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Rahane’s demotion marks a steep fall for him. It was only earlier this year that he led India to a historic Test series win in Australia in Kohli’s absence. Rahane was central to India’s turnaround in Melbourne, where his century helped India draw level after they were bowled out for 36 in the series opener in Adelaide.
Since that century, though, Rahane’s lack of runs has come in for scrutiny. He now averages 24.39 across his last 16 Tests, with his career average dipping below 40. After scores of 35 and 4 in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, Rahane missed the second Test in Mumbai because of an injury.
India open the tour with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion, followed by Tests at the Wanderers and Newlands. The final Test of the series, from January 11-15, is also likely to be Kohli’s 100th.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo