The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced a 18-member squad that will travel to South Africa for a three-match series. The All India Senior Selection Committee have left out injured Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Shubman Gill from the squad.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who missed the Test series against New Zealand, have returned to the squad while in-form Mayank Agarwal has been picked as the third opener in the side. Rohit Sharma, who was recently appointed as ODI captain has also been elevated as the vice-captain in the Test while Virat Kohli continues to lead the side.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who have been going through a lean patch have been picked in the squad. However, Rahane is expected to face a stiff competition from Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari for a place in the middle-order. While Vihari has impressed in the India A jersey in South Africa, Iyer had a superlative debut against New Zealand.
Rishabh Pant also returns to resume the wicket-keeping responsibilities while Wriddhiman Saha has retained his spot as the second wicket-keeper after impressive batting displays against the Kiwis.
Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.#SAvIND
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 8, 2021
Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have returned to the scheme of things after an well-deserved break after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. The squad also boasts Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj.
The three-match Test series, which was originally scheduled to commence on December 17 will now start on December 26 in Centurion. The remaining two Tests will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed. Siraj.
Standby players – Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla