KL Rahul has been dropped for the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa which will begin in October. Rahul, who managed just 101 runs in four innings in the West Indies, was not picked in the 15-man squad which was announced by the BCCI. However, the squad sees the inclusion of Shubman Gill, one of the current group of youngsters who has been making big impressions for India A. Shubman, who was the star during India's victorious Under-19 campaign in 2018 in New Zealand, has been in sparkling form for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy as well as for India A. In the recently concluded first unofficial Test match, Shubman managed to score 90 in the first innings on a tricky pitch and it made up for his disappointment in the one-day series where he averaged under 30. In the tour of West Indies, Shubman became the youngest Indian to score a First-Class double ton by emulating Gautam Gambhir's feat
Apart from Rahul's omission, the inclusion of Rohit Sharma is an indication by the MSK Prasad-led selection panel that he might be opening the batting with Mayank Agarwal for the Tests. Before the selection, there were reports that the selectors were looking at Rohit as a batsman who would perform like the way Virender Sehwag would by taking the attack early to the opposition. Rohit last played a Test in 2018 and it was in the Boxing Day match against Australia in Melbourne and he responded with a gritty 50.
The rest of the side remains the same from the West Indies series, with Rishabh Pant holding on to his place despite a poor show in the Caribbean. Pant has gotten plenty of support from Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri and he will be determined to showcase his credentials as the team's number one keeper across formats. The bowling will once again be the key and with Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami all coming off great outings in the West Indies, the confidence will be high.
The elevation of Rohit and the importance that has been attached to him for the home season is reflected in his appointment as the skipper of the Board President XI in their two-day clash against South Africa. The squad sees the inclusion of Jalaj Saxena, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Priyank Panchal and Karun Nair.
The first Test will begin on October 2 at Vizag and it will be followed by Tests in Pune and Ranchi. South Africa last played a Test series in India in 2015 and in the four-match series, they were hammered 3-0 with rain saving them the blushes in Bangalore.
Board President’s XI: 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
India’s squad for 3 Tests: Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (Wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (Wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill