Upcoming batsman K L Rahul and leg-spinner Karn Sharma were on Monday named in India’s 19-member Test squad for the tour of Australia, where skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will skip the opening match owing to an injury.
Suresh Raina staged a comeback into the Test fold while wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha also found a place in the squad announced by BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel after a meeting of the selection committee here.
With the selectors opting to go for youngsters, senior players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha continued to be on the sidelines.
Dhoni, who is nursing a right thumb injury which he picked up during the truncated series against West Indies, has been ruled out of the first Test in Brisbane (December 4 to 8) and Virat Kohli will lead the team in this match.
“Virat Kohli will lead India in the first Test, starting on 4 December 2014, in Brisbane. M.S. Dhoni has been rested for the first Test as a prophylactic measure to ensure optimum recovery. He will join the team from the second Test onwards, and will lead the team for the rest of the Test series,” Patel said in a statement.
The selectors also announced the team for the last two ODIs against Sri Lanka to be held in Kolkata (November 13) and Ranchi (November 16).
In-form batsman Shikhar Dhawan and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have been rested, while Wriddhiman has been dropped from the squad. Rohit Sharma made a comeback in place of Dhawan, while Robin Uthappa also returned to the side at the expense of Saha.
Injured pacer Ishant Sharma has been left out of the ODI team for the last two matches with his place going to Vinay Kumar.
There were no major surprises in the squad for Australia as Rahul’s name had been doing the rounds for his consistent performance in domestic cricket.
The 22-year-old from Karnataka piled up 1035 in the last Ranji season, finishing as the second highest run-scorer after Kedar Jadhav. With knocks of 185 and 130 in the recent Duleep Trophy, the batsman had caught the eye of selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil.
Rahul also has the experience of playing in Australia as he had opened for India A in a recent tour Down Under.