New Delhi (Reuters) – Opener Rohit Sharma was named India’s test captain on Saturday, succeeding Virat Kohli as the team’s leader in all three formats ahead of the home series against Sri Lanka.
Kohli, India’s most successful test captain, resigned from the role in a shock move last month after seven years in charge.
“Rohit is the number one player in the country. We spoke to him and he’s absolutely OK (to lead the team in all formats),” selection committee chairman Chetan Sharma told a virtual news conference.
“Under a player as experienced as Rohit, we can also groom future leaders of the team.”
India play Sri Lanka in three Twenty20 internationals starting on Thursday, before the two-test series next month.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is Rohit’s deputy in both the squads.
The opening test in Mohali will be Kohli’s 100th.
The selectors dropped senior batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane but Sharma said it was to give them a chance to rediscover their form in domestic cricket.
“We’ve told them that we are not considering them for the two tests against Sri Lanka but the door is absolutely open for them.
“We told them to go and play Ranji Trophy matches. We will use the series to try others.”
Batsman KL Rahul and spin-bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar missed out with injuries while spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s selection was subject to fitness, Sharma said.
Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav was recalled to the test squad.
“Kuldeep adds variation to the squad and his bowling is difficult to read,” Sharma explained.
“He had a slump in form and was out of the squad. But he bowled in the recent one-dayer and we believe given enough chances, he’d be an asset for the team.”
Kohli and Pant have been allowed to skip Sunday’s Twenty20 dead rubber against West Indies and return home, Sharma added.
Test squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Priyank Panchal, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubhman Gill, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), KS Bharath (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Sourabh Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Deepak Hooda, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Avesh Khan