Hardik Pandya or KL Rahul likely lead India vs Sri Lanka ODI series

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma‘s highly anticipated return to the cricket field has been reportedly postponed. The ICC T20 World Cup-winning pair is expected to miss the upcoming One Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka. This absence leaves a significant gap in India’s lineup for the series. Hardik Pandya or KL Rahul are likely to lead India vs Sri Lanka ODI series.

In a related development, Gautam Gambhir is set to replace Rahul Dravid, who has recently stepped down, as India’s next head coach. With this change in leadership, India is expected to appoint either Hardik Pandya or KL Rahul as the captain for the Sri Lanka series. This selection will be crucial as the team looks to maintain its competitive edge and build momentum ahead of future international fixtures.

KL Rahul Or Hardik Pandya: who is going to lead India?

Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya and wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul are vying to lead India in the upcoming three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka next month. Reports indicate that Indian captain Rohit Sharma, along with Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, will be rested for the tour, which includes three T20Is and three ODIs.

According to a PTI report, with Rohit unavailable, Pandya, who served as his deputy during the T20 World Cup 2024, is a strong candidate to captain the team. KL Rahul, who led India in the last ODI series against South Africa in December 2023, is also in contention for the captaincy. Hardik has captained India in three ODIs, while Rahul has led the team in 12 ODIs, winning eight of them.

The 31-year-old right-handed batter from Karnataka, who is a regular in the ODI squad, last played for India in January 2024 during the first Test of the five-match series against England.

BCCI’s take on resting Virat and Rohit

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have already had a long and tedious 2024. Both players were deeply involved in their respective IPL 2024 teams after which they played for India in the T20 World Cup 2024.

Rohit was the captain for team India while Virat’s smart knock in the finale led India to victory. According to the BCCI, this is exactly why both these players are being rested for the India tour of Sri Lanka. Rohit Sharma also has to play and lead the team in the Champions Trophy 2025.

“Both are automatic choices in ODI set up and the three 50-over games against England before the Champions Trophy is good enough practice for them. For next few months, they both will prioritize Tests and India will play 10 of them between September to January,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source told PTI.

“The Champions Trophy will happen in mid February and they don’t need to go for a week-long 3 match ODIs in Sri Lanka. If they want, they are most welcome but I guess they would want rest,” the source added.

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