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Ajinkya Rahane will assume the role of captain during India’s historic Test against Afghanistan as regular skipper Virat Kohli will be gearing up for his county stint with Surrey.
Afghanistan will be making their Test debut against India on June 14 in Bangalore.
However, Kohli is not the only high-profile player that will miss the match as seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested, while batsman Rohit Sharma was left out of the squad.
Rohit’s removal from the Test squad comes after he endured a torrid time with the bat during India’s Test series in South Africa, where he scored 78 runs in two Tests at an average of 19.50.
Rahane, meanwhile, only featured in the third Test against the Proteas and made scores of 9 and 48.
Meanwhile, batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who are currently playing for Yorkshire and Sussex respectively, will be available for the fixture as their county sides won’t be in action during India’s clash with Afghanistan.
All three openers – Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay – also made the cut, while the spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav have also been included in the side.
Since Bumrah and Kumar have been rested, India have called up Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami as their replacements.
Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur, who has yet to make his Test debut, are the all-rounders in the squad.
As for Kohli’s replacement, India have brought in Karun Nair, who has scored a triple century in Test cricket, but last featured in the format in March 2017.
“This was the best opportunity for us to give Karun a chance, because he’s been doing well,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “It would have been too much of a risk to try him straight in England.”
Wriddhiman Saha will continue on as India’s wicketkeeper as Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel both failed to make the cut.
Afghanistan, who became a Full Member in June last year, will be the fourth nation to make their Test debut against India, with the other three being Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
India’s Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur