Paarl [South Africa], January 18 (ANI): Virat Kohli might not be India's skipper but the batter remains a key cog in the visitors' batting lineup for the ODI series against South Africa which gets underway from Wednesday.
Kohli last played an ODI in March 2021, when India locked horns with England.
KL Rahul will captain India in absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma but still, the eyes will be on Kohli as he gears up to play an ODI purely as a batter.
However, India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has insisted that Kohli will always be the leader in the group.
"He brings a lot of energy to the side. He will always be a leader in the group and his contribution has always been immense," said Bumrah while replying to ANI query during a virtual press conference on Monday.
The ODI series will also begin India's preparation for the 2023 ODI World Cup and with a new-look side, the visitors will be looking to kick start the year on a high.
Meanwhile, South Africa will look to continue the momentum after winning the Test series against India. But South Africa is not underestimating India for the ODI series.
"Obviously, we are taking momentum from the Test series into the ODIs. But we are not underestimating India at all, India is one of the best teams in the world so we have to bring our A-game. We are looking to take the fight to them. We have to be as prepared as we can, a series win against India would be big," South Africa left-arm seamer Marco Jansen said.
India ODI squad: KL Rahul (captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj, Jayant Yadav, Navdeep SainiSouth Africa ODI squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (ANI)