KL Rahul, India's captain for the T20I series against South Africa and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav on Wednesday were ruled out of the five-match series on the eve of the opening match here due to injuries to right groin and right hand respectively.
Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, who was named as Rahul's deputy for the series, will now lead India in his absence while Hardik Pandya, who captained Gujarat Titans to IPL 2022 title, has been named his deputy.
It means that Pant, 24, will lead India for the very first time at his home ground, Arun Jaitley Stadium, on Thursday.Rahul had been named captain for the series against South Africa after regular skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were rested after being named in the Edgbaston Test squad from July 1-5.
"Team India Captain KL Rahul has been ruled out of the T20I series against South Africa owing to a right groin injury while Kuldeep Yadav will miss out in the T20I series after getting hit on his right hand while batting in the nets last evening," said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in an official statement.
Rahul had batted at the practice session on Monday but wasn't present during the nets session on Tuesday. Rahul has also been named in India's Test squad for the Edgbaston Test against England from July 1-5. Kuldeep, meanwhile, was present at both practice sessions and even batted for some time on Tuesday.
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant as Captain and Hardik Pandya as vice-captain for the home series against South Africa," added the BCCI.
At the same time, the selection committee has not named a replacement for both Rahul and Kuldeep. Both cricketers will now report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) where the medical team will assess them further and decide on the future course of treatment.
India's T20I squad: Rishabh Pant (Captain & wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik