India is due to play South Africa early next year, and the squad for the difficult tour was announced on Monday. As experts firmly believed, India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been included in the Test team, while Hardik Pandya too comes back into the team, after being rested for the ongoing Sri Lanka series. Parthiv Patel earned a surprise call-up as for the tour as a back-up wicketkeeper. Bumrah has got the chance on the back of some great limited-overs performances, on regular basis. Also, he has had decent returns in first-class cricket, with 89 wickets in 26 matches. Talking about Parthiv, he has also had a good run in the Ranji Trophy, having scored a 173 recently against Rajasthan.
The ones left out of the current squad are all-rounder Vijay Shankar and spinner Kuldeep Yadav. While announcing the squad, BCCI chairman of selectors M.S.K. Prasad said this is the best balanced side for the tour. “This is the best balanced side, I am sure this team will really do well,” he told reporters after the selection committee meeting here. “With regard to Bumrah if you see his performance for the past 10-12 months, he has been phenomenal. It’s a unanimous choice and he definitely adds variety.” Commenting on chinaman Kuldeep Yadav’s absence from the squad, Prasad said: “Definitely feel unfortunate for Kuldeep Yadav but selecting him over the World No 1 & 2 bowlers (Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja) won’t be fair.” Prasad also said that veteran star Yuvraj Singh was ignored as he has not played too much competitive cricket in recent times. “Yuvraj Singh has fitness issues. He has not played a lot of competitive cricket lately,” Prasad said. The team will leave for South Africa on December 27.
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel and Jasprit Bumrah.
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