India vs SA: Captain Rishabh Pant set to join elite list during 1st T20I, to go past Virat Kohli & MS Dhoni

Injury-hit Team India will face Temba Bavuma-led South Africa in the series opener of the five-match T20Is at home on Thursday evening (June 09), in New Delhi, India. On Wednesday evening (June 08), news broke out that stand-in captain KL Rahul has been injured, along with wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, hence, Rishabh Pant will lead India in the five T20Is versus the Proteas.

For the unversed, Pant was already named the captain when the BCCI selection committee named a Rohit Sharma-less Indian squad for the SA T20Is. With big names such as Rohit, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah rested, and now with Rahul’s absence, Pant has a huge task to keep India’s winning run intact in the shortest format (12), who are one victory away from creating a new world record of most successive T20I wins. 

ALSO READ | Rishabh Pant to lead India in T20I series vs SA after KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav ruled out due to injury

As soon as Pant will enter the Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi for the coin toss with Bavuma, he will join an elite list by going past former captains Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Suresh Raina, the former all-rounder, is the youngest ever Indian captain in T20Is, hence, Pant is all set to join him at the second spot. The 24-year-old Pant will then be followed by MS Dhoni (who captained in T20Is at 26), Virender Sehwag (who was 28 when he led India in their first-ever T20I in 2006) and Virat. 

Virat led India for the first time in the shortest format in early 2017, when he was 28 years old. Hence, Pant will join some big players on an elusive list as he is set to lead India for the first time ever on Thursday evening. 

It will be interesting to see how Pant marshalls his troops, comprising Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Avesh Khan, Umran Malik and some experienced campaigners such as Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Hardik will serve as Pant’s deputy in the five T20Is.

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