KL Rahul returns, 4 players dropped: Complete list of changes in India’s squad for South Africa Tests


KL Rahul will return to the Test team for the first time
Image Source : GETTY/AP KL Rahul will return to the Test team for the first time since the Border-Gavaskar series against Australia at home

The Indian team will undergo one of its toughest tests against South Africa starting on Boxing Day on December 26 in Centurion. Having lost two World Test Championship finals in a row, the Indian team is doing half the work – of qualifying for two consecutive editions – but not completing it, i.e., winning the whole thing. And to continue the journey in an attempt to get their hands on the elusive Test championship mace, the two Test matches could be key to India’s chances given they have never won a series in South Africa.

To conquer the South African shores, the two-time WTC finalists have put out a squad that looks strong, has every base covered and has a mix of youth and experience given that the Indian team has hit the transition button as far as the red-ball side is concerned. Still, the team looks a bit different than the one that played a few months ago in the West Indies. Here’s a look at all the changes in the Test squad from the last time they played the longest format-

IN:

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer both will be playing a Test match for the first time since the Border-Gavaskar series having recovered from their respective injuries. Rahul will also be the designated wicketkeeper for the first time in Tests for India. Jasprit Bumrah was about for nearly a year and is yet to play a Test match since the rescheduled fifth Test against England last July. He has also returned and is now a vice-captain. Mohammed Shami was also supposed to be playing but is nursing an ankle injury and has been ruled out. Prasidh Krishna has returned to the Test squad while Abhimanyu Easwaran has made a comeback as a replacement for Ruturaj Gaikwad.

OUT: 

Ahjinya Rahane, who was made the vice-captain for the WTC final has been left out since Iyer is fit for the No. 5 role. Cheteshwar Pujara continues to be sidelined. Since the matches are in South Africa, Axar Patel wasn’t considered. Ishan Kishan, who smashed a fifty in the West Indies after his Test debut is on a break and hence opted out of the series after getting selected, which meant a return for KS Bharat. Jaydev Unadkat and Navdeep Saini weren’t considered, however, the latter may have an outside chance to be in the squad as the BCCI is yet to name a replacement for Shami. Ruturaj Gaikwad suffered a finger injury in the second ODI and hence been ruled out of the series.

India’s Test squad for South Africa series: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Abhimanyu Easwaran, KS Bharat (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna

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