The last-minute injury to KL Rahul means that young wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant will be captain of India in the five-match T20 series against South Africa beginning in New Delhi on Thursday (June 9). Pant has been elevated to the captaincy position after KL Rahul was ruled out of the series along with chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav due to a groin injury.
Rishabh will go past former captains Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni when he dons the captaincy hat on Thursday evening. The Delhi Capitals captain will become the second-youngest Indian skipper in T20Is.
At 23 years and 197 days, Suresh Raina holds the record of being India’s youngest T20I captain and will continue to hold the record for now. Pant will start his captaincy career on the 2nd spot. He is 24-year-old and was born in October 1997.
Following Raina and Pant will be Dhoni, who was 26 years old when he led India at the 2007 T20 World Cup. Virender Sehwag, India’s first-ever T20I captain, was 28 when the Men-in-Blue took on South Africa in 2006.
Men in Blue The Proteas
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) June 9, 2022
Kohli was also 28 when he first led India in T20Is. Interestingly, the former India captain led India in his maiden ODI in 2013 and in his first Test in 2014. But his first match as a T20I captain came in January 2017 against England.
Ajinkya Rahane, who captained India on the Zimbabwe tour in 2015, was 28 then. At 30, KL Rahul would have become India’s oldest T20I captain.
As Pant made his way through to address his first press conference on the eve of his India captaincy debut at his home ground Arun Jaitley Stadium, the 24-year-old was happy on being made the captain and acknowledged the not-so-ideal situation the leadership duties came to him.
“It’s a very good feeling. It didn’t come under very good circumstances. At the same time, I am feeling happy. I would like to thank BCCI for giving me this opportunity to lead the Indian side. I will try to make most of it,” said Pant on Wednesday.
“But first of all, thank you to all my well-wishers throughout my journey for supporting me through my thick and thins of my cricketing career. But I would like to make this as a base to keep improving and making my life better and better each and every day,” added Pant.
(with IANS inputs)