Due to an injury sustained during a practice session in Mumbai in the lead-up, Indian opener Rohit Sharma will miss the three-Test series against South Africa, which begins on December 26. The 18-member squad arrived in Mumbai on December 12 and is scheduled to fly to South Africa on December 16. Because of Rohit’s injury, India would be without their greatest run-scorer in the format this year (906 in 21 innings at 47.68) for the important match at a location where no Indian side has ever won a series. Because Rohit had only recently taken over the role from Ajinkya Rahane, the BCCI is expected to designate a stand-in vice-captain.

Gujarat batsman Priyank Panchal is expected to replace Rohit at the top of the order, alongside KL Rahul, who was forced to miss the home Tests against New Zealand owing to injury. Rohit was also absent from the series after being rested following a busy schedule leading up to it, which included a 3-0 triumph in the T20I series, his first as India’s full-time skipper.

In the instance of Panchal, the 31-year-old, Rohit’s injury provides him with an opportunity to make his case in a packed Indian top-order. Panchal was part of the A-side that played three unofficial Tests in Bloemfontein. He has over 7000 runs at 45.52 with 24 centuries and 25 half-centuries in 100 First-Class matches. In the first Test, he was four runs short of a century, but he bounced back with scores of 24 and 0 in the second before sitting out the third.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether Rohit would miss the following three-match ODI series, which was supposed to be his first 50-over assignment since being elected captain. The nature of his injury is unknown at this time, but it is clearly severe enough that he will not be able to return to the series in time.

The first Test will take place in Centurion from December 26 to 30, with the second taking place in Johannesburg from January 3 to 7, and the third and final one taking place in Cape Town from January 11 to 15. The following ODI series, which will not be part of the ICC ODI World Cup Super League, will begin on January 19 in Paarl, with the second ODI taking place on January 21 and the final on January 23 in Cape Town.