Earlier, Rohit Sharma was made deputy to Virat Kohli for the series but he was ruled out due to a recurring left-hamstring injury.
The 29-year-old Rahul has played 40 Tests so far and has scored 2321 runs at an average of 35.16, with six centuries under his belt. Importantly, he is being looked at as a long-term potential leader.
NEWS – KL Rahul named vice-captain of Test team for South Africa series.KL Rahul replaces Rohit Sharma as vice-ca… https://t.co/gTszAGtLLJ
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“The All-India Senior selection committee has named KL Rahul as vice-captain for the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. KL Rahul replaces Rohit Sharma as vice-captain, who was ruled out of the Test series owing to a hamstring injury,” Shah said in a statement.
The PTI had reported on December 13 that Rahul is the frontrunner for the vice-captaincy.
Rohit, who had replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the vice-captain for the Test series, suffered a left hamstring injury during the net session in Mumbai, which ruled him out for at least three to four weeks.
For the selectors, it was difficult to go back to Rahane who is no longer a certainty in the Test XI, and possibly, it is too early for Rishabh Pant to be elevated as vice captain of the national team.
Rahul, currently, is seen as one of the few all-format specialist batters.
Rahul has the right age and experience to be groomed for future when Kohli relinquishes Test leadership. He can take over the mantle for a longer duration.
It is also expected that Rahul will be the white-ball deputy to Rohit in the coming days. His name is also doing the rounds for captaining the new IPL Lucknow franchise.