India have handed a maiden Test call-up to young batsman Shubman Gill for the upcoming three-match Test series at home against South Africa.
The 20-year-old batsman has been roped in as an opener for the series with KL Rahul dropped from the Test outfit after his unconvincing displays in the tour of West Indies.
Gill was the man-of-the-series when India won the U19 World Cup in New Zealand last year and he has made a stellar start to his first-class senior career as well for Punjab.
The right-handed batsman has been in excellent form of late for India A in their recent shadow tour of the West Indies as well the clashes against South Africa A at home.
India’s squad for 3 Tests: 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— BCCI (@BCCI) September 12, 2019
Want to give Rohit Sharma an opportunity to open the innings in Tests - MSK Prasad— BCCI (@BCCI) September 12, 2019
In 14 first-class matches for Punjab so far, young Gill has managed to 1,443 runs at an average of over 72 with the help of four tons and eight half-centuries.
He is the only change to the India Test squad which completed a 2-0 series clean sweep in the tour of the Caribbean. Gill could be now set to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top of the batting order although he faces direct competition from Rohit Sharma who has retained his place in the Test squad.
Chief selectors MSK Prasad stated that India will seriously consider Rohit as an opener in home conditions and it will be interesting to see who gets the starting berth ultimately between the senior and junior batsmen.
“Yes, we are definitely looking at him (as opener), and we want to give him an opportunity,” Prasad said while announcing the Test squad.
“He himself is keen, and all of us in the selection committee are keen. We want to push him, and give him some opportunities up the order, and see where he stands, and then we will take a call.”
India have opted against bringing back all-rounder Hardik Pandya to the Test fold just yet after he was rested for the tour of West Indies. The 25-year-old had earlier been picked for the T20 series against South Africa which begins on Sunday.
The first Test between India and South Africa is due to get underway at Visakhapatnam on October 2.
India 15-man squad
Virat Kohli (c), 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.
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