India have called-up pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah to the 17-member squad for the three-match Test series against South Africa.
Bumrah has already played 28 One-Day Internationals and 30 One-Day Internationals for India but is yet to make an appearance in the longer format. He has picked 92 wickets combined in the limited overs format but his economy rate has been the striking feature of his bowling career.
Also returning to the squad is wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, who will serve as a back-up to the front-line option of Wriddhiman Saha.
Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Lokes Rahul will compete for the opening spots while Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane comprise the middle order.
Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been retained as the spinners, though it is unlikely that both might feature in the XI considering the conditions in South Africa.
Apart from Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav will form rest of the pace attack with Hardik Pandya as an all-round option.
"If you see Bumrah's performance in the last 18 months, it's been wonderful," said chairman of selection committee MSK Prasad.
"He's been sensational, bowling outstandingly well in both one-dayers and T20s. Considering his performance in Ranji Trophy last season, he bowled brilliantly that whole season.
"It's a unanimous choice, there were no doubts in picking Bumrah because he definitely adds variety to our pace attack. And considering the nature of wickets there (in South Africa), it will definitely suit his bowling,"
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been left out of the squad and Prasad insisted that the decision had more to do with the conditions expected in South Africa.
"I really feel unfortunate for Kuldeep Yadav. But considering we're only going to play three Test, considering Kuldeep ahead of No. 1 and No. 2 spinners in the world is a bit of a big ask," added Prasad.
"Otherwise, Kuldeep is definitely a top-class bowler and over a period of time we'll see him growing."
The three Tests will be played between 5th and 28th January with Cape Town, Centurion and Johannesburg being the venues.
India Test squad for South Africa series:
Virat Kohli (captain), 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, Jasprit Bumrah
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