Mumbai: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the first match of the four-Test series starting Dec 4 against Australia while Karnataka opening batsman K.L. Rahul and Railways leg-spinner Karn Sharma received call-ups to the 19-member squad announced Monday.
Virat Kohli will lead the Indian team in the first Test of the series, which will be preceded by two two-day practice games in November.
“Virat Kohli will lead India in the first Test, starting on 4 December 2014, in Brisbane. M.S. Dhoni has been rested for the first Test as a prophylactic measure to ensure optimum recovery. He will join the team from the second Test onwards, and will lead the team for the rest of the Test series,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel said.
Left-hander Suresh Raina has returned to the squad after two years while Madhya Pradesh wicketkeeper Naman Ojha will be Bengal glovesman Wriddhiman Saha’s back-up for the first Test.
Right-hander batsman Rahul was a serious contender for the reserve opener’s slot after scoring centuries in each innings of the Duleep Trophy final against Central Zone at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi Oct 29-Dec 2. In the previous season of the Ranji Trophy, the 22-year-old accumulated 1,158 runs to become the second highest scorer.
The selectors have picked five pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron while the spin department got an addition in the form of Meerut-based spinner Karn, who made his Twenty20 debut against England.
BCCI’s All-India Senior Selection Committee, which met here Monday, also rested opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for the last two One-Day Internationals (ODI) of the five-match India-Sri Lanka series.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma, Vinay Kumar and Kedar Jadhav have been selected for the last two games to be played in Kolkata (Oct 13) and Ranchi (Oct 16).
India squad for Tests in Australia: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.
India squad for ODIs against Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Vinay Kumar, Kedar Jadhav.