India has suffered a double blow ahead of their upcoming T20I series against Afghanistan, with both of their stand-in captains Suryakumar Yadav and Ruturaj Gaikwad ruled out of the entire series due to injuries.
Suryakumar, who led the Men in Blue in the absence of the injured Hardik Pandya, sustained an ankle injury during the third T20I against South Africa. He is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks, meaning he will miss not only the Afghanistan series but also the next IPL season.
Gaikwad, who captained India in one T20I against Sri Lanka earlier this year, fractured his finger during the ongoing ODI series against South Africa. He is likely to be out for four to six weeks, ruling him out of both the remaining ODIs and the T20Is against Afghanistan.
The injuries to Suryakumar and Gaikwad have left India with a major selection headache as they search for a new captain for the Afghanistan series. With Hardik Pandya also still recovering from a back injury, there is no clear frontrunner for the role.
Several promising candidates are vying for the captaincy role, including:
- Rishabh Pant: The wicket-keeper batsman has captained Delhi Capitals in the IPL and is known for his aggressive leadership style.
- Shreyas Iyer: The experienced batter captained Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and has led India A in the past.
- KL Rahul: The stylish opener has led Punjab Kings in the IPL and is considered a reliable and composed leader.
- Ishan Kishan: The young wicket-keeper batsman has impressed with his maturity and big-hitting abilities, despite limited leadership experience.
Rahul has captained India in the past, but he has been out of form in recent months. Pant is a talented young player but he has limited experience as a captain. Iyer is a consistent performer in domestic cricket but he has not yet played much international cricket. Jadeja is an experienced all-rounder who has led Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, but he has never captained India before.
Whoever is chosen to lead India in the Afghanistan series will face a tough challenge. Afghanistan is a rising force in international cricket and they will be eager to test themselves against a strong Indian team.
The loss of Suryakumar and Gaikwad is a major blow to India’s T20I plans, but it also presents an opportunity for other players to step up and make a name for themselves. The Afghanistan series will be a chance for young players to impress the selectors and stake a claim for a place in the Indian team for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
It will be interesting to see who the BCCI chooses to lead India in the Afghanistan series. The decision will give us an indication of the selectors’ thinking ahead of the next World Cup.
DISCLAIMER: This team is based on the understanding, analysis, and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.