India’s captain and star batsman Virat Kohli will be rested for the one-day matches against Sri Lanka after the ongoing Test series ends, selectors said Monday.
Kohli has stepped up calls in recent weeks for a break from cricket because of the workload. India, the world’s top Test nation, start a demanding tour of South Africa in January.
“I’m not a robot, you can slice my skin and check if I still bleed,” Kohli said before the Sri Lanka series started.
He has played more international cricket in 2017 than any other Indian player — nine Tests, 26 one-day internationals, and 10 T20s.
India will go into the third and final Test against Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Saturday with Kohli leading the squad that hammered the visitors in the second Test.
The return of batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who opted out of the second Test due to personal reasons, is the only change.
The squad for the South Africa tour is to be named before the game starts.
Kohli will be replaced as captain by batsman Rohit Sharma for the three-match one-day series after the Tests.
Sharma, who hit 102 not out in the Nagpur Test, is expected to remain captain for the T20 games too, as Kohli rests and prepares for the South Africa tour.
Allrounder Hardik Pandya and fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who pulled out of the second and third Sri Lanka Test to get married, return to the 15-man squad.
Uncapped fast bowler Siddarth Kaul and young batsmen Shreyas Iyer, who has represented India in three T20 games, are also part of the one-day team.
Senior spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja continue to stay out of India’s limited-overs plans despite their superb run in the five-day format.
Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal remain the team’s three spinners in the 50-over matches against Sri Lanka.
The first of the three ODIs will be played in Dharamsala on December 10.
India squad for third Test against Sri Lanka:
Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Vijay Shankar
India squad for one day series against Sri Lanka:
Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul