Rohit Sharma Named India’s New Test Captain

 Selectors start transition with exclusion of Pujara, Rahane, Ishant, Saha

 NEW DELHI: Rohit Sharma was on Saturday appointed the new Test captain of the Indian team as selectors initiated the transition phase by dropping struggling veterans Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma for the Sri Lanka series.

The PTI had earlier reported that team management has decided to move on from Saha and 100-Test plus Ishant and chances were dim for both Pujara and Rahane to retain their places.

On Saturday, chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma made it clear that "Rohit was the unanimous choice" and will be the bridge between the new and old in the current set-up as they groom three potential captaincy materials in KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant.

All three have led or been deputy at some point.

The Sri Lanka Tests series, starting March 4, will also mark comeback of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has recovered from a knee injury. Shubman Gill too has recovered from shin stress fracture.

Washington Sundar and KL Rahul are nursing their hamstrings before start of Indian Premier League.

Kuldeep Yadav, who was dumped by Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, has been brought back from the cold as he made his return into Test team.

Sanju Samson's start-stop international career got a lifeline in the T20s against Sri Lanka. Pant along with Virat Kohli has been rested while rookie left-arm spinner from Uttar Pradesh Saurabh Kumar made his maiden entry into Test side.

‘Rohit the only choice’

While it was known long back after Kohli tendered his resignation from Tests, Rohit's emergence as Test captain is a remarkable story of grit and determination. Once considered someone who would have a great Test career, opening the innings changed the course of his career. After the England Test tour, there was no looking back.

"Rohit Sharma is number one cricketer of our country and the most important thing is that he is playing all the three formats," Sharma made it clear that he was the "unanimous choice" and there was no discussion about any other names.

He made it clear tha even Rohit will get his breaks periodically as the body needs rest and that's something they will manage.

"The most important thing is how we manage Rohit. All the cricketers are professionals. They know their body and they manage their body and Rohit is absolutely (fit), there is no problem at all," he added.

BCCI Give Kohli 10-Day Break, To Skip Lanka T20Is

The BCCI has given senior batter Virat Kohli a 10-day break from the Indian team's bio-bubble as he left for home before the third T20 International against the West Indies scheduled in Kolkata on Sunday.

As reported by PTI on Friday, Kohli will not be playing in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka beginning on February 24 in Lucknow followed by two more games at Dharamsala on February 26 and 27.

"Yes, Kohli has left home on Saturday morning as India have already won the series. As it has been decided by BCCI, it will be a policy to give all the regular all format players periodic breaks from the bubble to ensure that their workload management and mental health is taken care of," a senior BCCI official privy to the development told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

The Indian team for the Sri Lanka series will be picked later in the day.

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