India announced a 15-member squad for the three-match Test series against South Africa which is scheduled to start from October 2. KL Rahul, who has been struggling with the bat, was dropped as he scored 44 and 38 against West Indies in the first Test but failed to score big in the second. On the other hand, the youngster Shubman Gill got his maiden call-up in the Test side, having scored 90 and 5 in the first unofficial Test against South Africa A.
While KL Rahul’s exclusion was expected, the inclusion of Shubman Gill came as a surprise. The other squad are the same for the three-Test matches. However, India also lead the points table in the World Test Championship with 120 points after thrashing West Indies in both the Test matches. India earlier had lost to South Africa by 1-2 when the last time these two teams met in early 2018. However, they had won the Test series against the Proteas at home in 2015.
After having lost the series to South Africa and England, India have had a good campaign in Test cricket. Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari who debuted in the Test series against Australia, have retained their places in the squad. While Agarwal has shown improvement as an opener, Vihari had a great series in the West Indies where he hit his maiden hundred in Test cricket after getting dismissed for 93 in the 1st Test.
The first Test will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 while the second one will be held in Pune from October 10. The final Test match will be played in Ranchi from October 19.
India squad for Test series vs South Africa:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill
Along with the main squad, the board have named the Board President’s XI squad as well. Rohit Sharma is all set to lead the team in the three-day warm-up game that includes Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Karun Nair and Siddhesh Lad. Umesh Yadav who has been excluded from the Test squad will be part of the warm-up game. Avesh Khan, Ishan Porel and Shardul Thakur are the other pacers have been chosen for the game which will be played in Vizianagaram from September 26.
Board President’s XI squad:
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, AR Easwaran, Karun Nair, Siddhesh Lad, KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Jalaj Saxena, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Avesh Khan, Ishan Porel, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav