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Ravindra Jadeja returns, Harbhajan Singh left out of India Test squad against South Africa

Jadeja on Monday made a return to the Indian team after a gap of more than a year for the first two Tests of the four-match series against South Africa.

Cricketnext Staff |October 19, 2015, 4:43 PM IST
Ravindra Jadeja returns, Harbhajan Singh left out of India Test squad against South Africa

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja on Monday made a return to the Indian team after a gap of more than a year for the first two Tests of the four-match series against South Africa.

The senior selection panel of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), led by Sandeep Patil, met on Monday in Delhi to pick India’s squad for the last two ODIs and first two Test matches against the Proteas. They have also pick the Board President’s XI team for the two-day tour game against the visitors.

The Saurashtra player was dropped from the team after the limited-overs series in Bangladesh in June. He hasn’t played in the longest format since August 2014.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who suffered a side strain during India's first ODI and was replaced by Harbhajan Singh for the rest of the one-dayers, has been included in the Test squad.

Jadeja, who has always been a handful in Indian conditions, backed his case by scoring 149 runs at 74.50 in the two Ranji Trophy matches he played so far this season. His tally of 24 scalps at an average of 8.25, including four five-fors and a couple of 10-wicket match hauls, has been even more impressive.

The rest of the squad looks identical to the one that played in Sri Lanka with Virat Kohli as the leader. Most of the 16-member, who clinched a 2-1 series win on Sri Lankan soil after 22 years, have retained their places in the team.

Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma automatically selected themselves among the batsmen. KL Rahul, who scored a century along with string of low scores in the Sri Lanka series, has also been named.

Bengal wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who missed the final Lanka Test due to a hamstring injury, is also back into the squad. The pace battery is led by Ishant Sharma and also includes Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.

Stuart Binny has also retained his place after a decent outing in the final Test against Sri Lanka.

However, Ishant, who is serving a one-match ban, will miss the first Test in Mohali. The lanky pacer from Delhi also suffered a hamstring injury during his Ranji game in Delhi but the selectors may have kept him in the squad expecting that he will get fit in time.

One notable omission has been of Harbhajan Singh, who was part of the Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka. Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Jadeja are the three spinners who have been selected.

The Test series will begin from November 5 with Mohali, Bengaluru, Nagpur and Delhi as the venues respectively.

The selectors also made just one change in the ODI squad for the remaining two matches against Proteas, bringing in paceman Sreenath Arvind for fellow seamer Umesh Yadav.

Selector Sandeep Patil said the selectors are keenly observing the team's so far disappointing run against the South Africans in the limited overs series. The hosts lost the Twenty20s 0-2 and are trailing 1-2 in the ODI series.

"We are concerned (performance). Two selectors who were travelling with the team had a word with the team management and captain. We had a detailed discussion with the captain. It is not a worrying factor. Every time the Indian team does well

we feel good, every time it loses we feel bad," Patil said.

"I have been saying that nobody is happy that we lost a game that we should have won. But we still back the team which we have chosen. We still back the ideas and the management and the support staff. We want them to do well. The areas that we wanted to be looked into have been discussed, about which the team management and captain will give a good thought to it," he added.

Patil said the selectors and the captain have no differences on the composition of the team.

"I have said this earlier and it is to give the captain the team that not only he wants but the team which selectors feel that will do well. The form of a particular player, looking at the slot that he had, looking at the opposition and like I said earlier, we are still on the same page.

"Whether it's captain, team management, coach all selectors feel that they have selected the best. Final selection of 11 players has been left to them. We were worried about few things and we hope they will be sorted out in future," he said.

SQUAD:

Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.

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