Former national selector and wicketkeeper Saba Karim has expressed surprise at the appointment of Jasprit Bumrah as vice-captain for the ODI series against South Africa from 19 January. The BCCI selection committee, headed by Chetan Sharma, named an 18-man squad for the 3-match series in South Africa and picked KL Rahul as captain in place of injured Rohit Sharma.
The selectors named Jasprit Bumrah also as Rahul’s deputy despite the presence of Virat Kohli who was removed as captain of the ODI side last month. While Rahul has experience of leading an Indian Premier League franchise and the likes of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer who have been picked for the ODIs also have the experience of leading teams while Bumrah hasn’t had any so far.
Chief selector Chetan Sharma said on 31 December that it would be a good opportunity for Bumrah to be part of the leadership group and learn as they are looking to groom some of the players for future leadership roles.
However, Saba Karim said he expected Rishabh Pant to be chosen as the vice-captain rather than Jasprit Bumrah.
“I was extremely surprised, I was not expecting Jasprit Bumrah to be made the vice-captain,” Saba Karim said.
“I was hoping that Rishabh Pant had more chances to be made the vice-captain because he is also a multi-format player, he plays all three formats.”
“Pant’s performances as captain of the Delhi Capitals have been very good. We are seeing how he reads the match, he has a lot of game awareness.
“Jasprit Bumrah has the talent, his role is very important for the Indian team but he has not captained anywhere till now. So it is slightly surprising. I was feeling that Rishabh Pant was the first candidate as vice-captain.”
India named an 18-man squad for the 3-match ODI series and along with Rohit, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also misses out due to injury concerns.
India are currently preparing for the 2nd of a 3-match Test series against South Africa in Johannesburg, starting 3 January. Virat Kohli-led Indian team will look to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series as they are heading into the 2nd Test after becoming the first Asian team to win a Test in Centurion.