New Delhi, Oct 19: Left-handed all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has had an impressive Ranji Trophy season so far, was today recalled to the Indian Test squad to face South Africa. Veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh was dropped. (Aravind replaces Umesh for ODIs)
Also read: Jadeja bowls Saurashtra to victory
The BCCI selection committee, led by Sandeep Patil, on Monday (October 19) announced a 16-man Indian Test squad for the first 2 matches of the 4-game home series against South Africa.
Virat Kohli will lead the Test side against South Africa. This is the first home series for him since taking over the reins from MS Dhoni, who quit Tests in December last year.
The 26-year-old Jadeja, who is the leading wicket-taker in the ongoing Ranji Trophy with 24 scalps (4 five-wicket hauls) from 2 games for Saurashtra at an outstanding average of 8.24, has returned on sheer weight of performance. He has also hit 2 half centuries.
Jadeja has made a comeback to the Indian team after 4 months. He last played in a ODI in Bangladesh on June 18. (Ind-SA series guide)
Three members of the Test squad which won the series in Sri Lanka on September 1, have been dropped. They are Harbhajan, Karun Nair and Naman Ojha. Jadeja, Murali Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha have taken their places. With the latest omission from the team, Harbhajan's Test career seems to be over. The 103-Test spinner, however, is part of the ODI squad.
Also read: Kohli creates Test history in Sri Lanka
This will be the first Test series in India since the retirement of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar. India have not played a Test at home since November 16, 2013.
Tendulkar retired from international cricket in November 2013 after playing his 200th and final Test at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Since that game, which was won India, with it the series 2-0, India featured in 5-day cricket abroad, in South Africa, New Zealand, England, Australia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The selectors also named the Board President's XI squad to face South Africa in a 2-day practice match in Mumbai from October 30. Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the side.
India Test squad for 1st 2 matches of Gandhi-Mandela Series
Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
In: Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha
Out: Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Naman Ojha
Board President's XI squad for 2-day practice game (October 30-31) in Mumbai Vs South Africa
Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), KL Rahul, Unmukt Chand, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Naman Ojha (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Shradul Thakur, Sheldon Jackson, Karn Sharma, Nathu Singh.
November 5-9 (Thursday to Monday): 1st Test, Mohali
November 14-18 (Saturday to Wednesday): 2nd Test, Bengaluru
November 25-29 (Wednesday to Sunday): 3rd Test, Nagpur
December 3-7 (Thursday to Monday): 4th Test, New Delhi
South Africa Test squad
Hashim Amla (captain), AB de Villiers (vice-captain), Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas (wicketkeeper).