Rishabh Pant on Thursday made his India captaincy debut as the team took on South Africa in the first T20I of the five-match series at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi. After being put to bat first, the hosts scored 211 runs for a loss of four wickets. 

Pant made a quickfire 29 off 16 balls with the help of two boundaries and as many maximums. 

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Making his India captaincy debut at 24, Pant, who has been leading the Delhi Capitals since 2020, became the second-youngest skipper after Suresh Raina for India in men’s T20Is. He recorded the feat on his home turf – Delhi. 

Raina, who captained India in three T20Is, leads the list at 23 years and 197 days. Dhoni made his captaincy debut in the format at 26. 

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Youngest Indian captains in men’s T20Is

23y 197d – Suresh Raina

24y 248d – Rishabh Pant*

26y 68d – MS Dhoni

Pant was promoted to the post after KL Rahul, who was originally named leader of the team for the South Africa series, was ruled out due to a groin injury on the eve of the first game. The 24-year-old called it as one of the proudest moments in his cricketing career.

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“It is one of the proudest moments in my cricketing career so far. Because a Delhi boy getting that (captaincy) honour at Delhi is a huge thing for me. We know our XI but at the same time we are giving different roles to players and see how they cope with that going forward,” Pant said at the toss. 

Avesh Khan started for India along with a seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel in the pace department. Young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad made his international debut against South Africa. 

For the Proteas, Aiden Markram was not available as he tested positive for COVID-19. Tristian Stubbs made his T20I debut. 

“It is an important series as we haven’t been together as a group since the World Cup, it is a preparation for the World Cup coming up in Australia,” skipper Bavuma said.