Gill earns maiden Test call-up for South Africa series

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Shubman Gill has been named in India’s 15-man squad for the three-match Test series against South Africa, BCCI announced on Thursday (September 12). KL Rahul has been dropped from the side which bears the same look like the side that played the two Tests against West Indies recently. Rohit Sharma has also been confirmed as an opener for the series by the selection committee chairman MSK Prasad.

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KL Rahul, after his second innings ton against England in The Oval Test last year, has struggled for form and hasn’t registered a half-century. He did score 44 and 38 against West Indies in the first Test but failed to register a big score in the second.

Gill, who received his maiden call-up to the Test side, scored 90 and 5 in the first unofficial Test against South Africa A to boost his chances. Gill has played 14 first-class games and has 1443 runs in the bag at an average of 72.15 with four centuries to his name. This, however, isn’t his first international call-up. The Punjab batsman made his ODI debut against New Zealand in January this year.

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Squad 
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

Jasprit Bumrah also looks set to play his first home Test while Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami are the other pacers. R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will be the frontline spinners while Rishabh Pant will continue as the first-choice ‘keeper. Wriddhiman Saha too is part of the squad.

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Rohit will also lead the Board President’s XI in the three-day warm-up game that includes Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Karun Nair and Siddhesh Lad as well. Umesh Yadav, dropped from the Test squad, will be part of the warm-up clash. Avesh Khan, Ishan Porel and Shardul Thakur are the other pacers picked for the match to be played in Vizianagaram from September 26.

The first Test of the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 before the teams travel to Pune for the second Test from October 10. The final match of the tour will be played in Ranchi from October 19.

Board President’s XI squad
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