Indian selectors named a 15-member squad for India’s Test series at home against South Africa. The names were mostly predictable and on the line of recent discussions over media.
KL out, Rohit in
The three-match Test series will begin on October 2 and as maximum demanded, Rohit Sharma was named as the Test opener for India for this series. He replaced KL Rahul in the team who failed to utilize his opportunities in the Caribbean land. Especially in the second Test, he failed terribly. A lot of experts and fans wanted to give a chance to Rohit Sharma. The argument was mainly referring to his success in World Cup 2019 where he had hit five centuries. Former players like Sourav Ganguly, Dilip Vengsarkar were keen to give Rohit a chance in Test cricket. Ganguly had taken the ‘risk’ of making Virender Sehwag a Test opener after his successful ODI stint. The same is now being expected from Virat to do with Rohit Sharma.
Rohit Sharma’s First Class cricket average is 54.23 and there is no definite reason for assuming his failure in Test cricket. His techniques were criticized earlier and he could only make 1585 runs in 47 innings. But everyone deserves a second chance and with KL Rahul being out of form for a while this is the perfect opportunity for Rohit to prove everyone right.
Gill’s maiden Test call
Shubman Gill’s exclusion from the West Indies tour did raise a number of eyebrows. The best part of the lad was he never stopped performing even after that. He kept on throwing questions to the selectors with his bat. Finally, he got his maiden Test call for the Test series against South Africa. In 14 First Class games, Gill scored 1443 runs at an average of 72.15. After showing his brilliance in West Indies for India A, recently the 20-year old contributed well in the unofficial ODI series against South Africa A team that India A won 4-1. His consistency is a treat for the team. In this tender age, he has become a dependable batsman and players like him show how strong Indian cricket’s reserve bench is.
But Gill’s way to the final eleven will depend a lot on how others perform. Chief Selector MSK Prasad during the announcement said, “Rohit has been selected in the side as an opener. He will open in the three matches and also for the Board President XI.” Rohit will captain the Board President’s XI, which will take on the South Africans in a three-day tour match in Vizianagram starting from September 26.
He further added, With regards to Shubman Gill, we look at him as an opener as well as middle-order batsman. We are looking at him as back-up for both the slots. As he keeps playing more and more, he will get his opportunities, because he is a player for all three formats.”
And the rest of the team
Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari had great outing against West Indies recently. Both performed during the crisis of the Indian team. Vihari got his maiden hundred after falling for 93 in the first Test against the Windies. Agarwal, on the other hand, was perfect as an opener. He did his bit pretty well and deserved to be named in this upcoming home series.
Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha both were named along with the expected names in the bowling squad. After stunning showcase against West Indies, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja were sure to get calls. Although Ravichandran Ashwin did not feature in playing eleven in West Indies and that created controversy, he again managed to get a call in the 5-member squad for South Africa series.
Umesh Yadav failed to make the cut and Prasad explained the reason. He was not named because of the kind of track Indians will be facing the Proteas. He said, “Issue right now, we couldn’t have Umesh here as it will be two seamers who will play. If it’s really a seaming track, we go for the third one. So Umesh may not play. For him, it is better to play domestic cricket as we are in domestic season. He is in India A side.”
Indian team is leading the points table in the World Test Championship with 120 points after crushing West Indies in both matches. Now the team is gearing up to increase their points by thrashing the Proteas at home
Virat Kohli (Capt), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill