In a major setback for Team India ahead of their much-anticipated Test series against South Africa, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on December 16, 2023, that senior pacer Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the two-match Test series due to fitness concerns. Shami, whose inclusion was provisional pending fitness clearance, failed to meet the medical team’s criteria, dealing a blow to India’s pace attack.

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Chahar’s Family Emergency Forces ODI Squad Shuffle

Adding to India’s challenges, pace-bowling all-rounder Deepak Chahar withdrew from the upcoming ODI series against South Africa due to a family medical emergency. The Men’s Selection Committee swiftly named Akash Deep as Chahar’s replacement in the ODI squad.

Squad Reshuffle and New Faces

In response to these unexpected developments, the Indian selection committee made necessary adjustments to both the ODI and Test squads. Akash Deep, already in South Africa as part of the India A side, steps in for Chahar in the ODI series. The Test squad, now without Shami, undergoes a strategic shuffle with Shreyas Iyer set to join after the first ODI.

Coaching Staff Changes

In an intriguing development, the coaching staff for the ODI series will see a change. Head Coach Rahul Dravid, along with Batting Coach Vikram Rathour, Bowling Coach Paras Mhambrey, and Fielding Coach T. Dilip, will not be part of the ODI squad. Instead, they will join the Test squad to oversee preparations for the upcoming red-ball matches.

Inter-Squad Game and Test Series Preparations

As part of their preparations for the Test series, Team India is scheduled to play an inter-squad match in Pretoria between December 20-22. Captain Rohit Sharma, along with star players Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and R Ashwin, have already left for South Africa and are expected to feature in the practice game.

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