New Delhi, Sep 12: Chairman of selectors for the Indian cricket team, MSK Prasad, on Thursday (September 12) announced India's Test squad for the three-match series against South Africa. Prasad confirmed that senior batsman Rohit Sharma will be opening the innings in the Test series.
The selectors dropped out of form opener KL Rahul and pacer Umesh Yadav from the 16-member squad. While young top-order batsman from Punjab Shubman Gill got his maiden Test call-up. Gill, who plays for Punjab, has been in phenomenal form and led India A to a fine victory over South Africa A, earlier in the day. Gill scored a sublime 90 in the first innings.
India opener KL Rahul suffered a massive setback as he was dropped from the squad owing to his poor form with the bat. In the last 12 innings, the Karnataka batsman has amassed just 195 runs at a disappointing average of 17. His last Test century came almost a year back in England in the final innings of Oval Test. Since then, the right-handed batsman hasn't played any substantial knock to cement his position in the Test side.
KL Rahul's exit from the squad means, senior batsman Rohit Sharma will get a chance to open the innings for India in the three-Test series, starting October 2. The first Test match will be played in Visakhapatnam.
After announcing the Test squad in Mumbai, MSK Prasad told media persons that the selectors and team management wish to give the Mumbai batsman a chance.
"Want to give Rohit Sharma an opportunity to open the innings in Tests," Prasad informed media persons.
India’s squad for 3 Tests: Virat Kohli (Capt), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk),Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill— BCCI (@BCCI) September 12, 2019
Rohit will now be opening the innings along with Mayank Agarwal in Vizag on October 2. Earlier in the day, former Australia cricketer Adam Gilchrist backed Rohit to open the innings for India.
"When the Indian team is playing at home, Rohit can most definitely play as an opener. It might be more challenging when touring Australia, South Africa and England," Gilchrist, who opened in ODI cricket and batted in the middle-order in Test cricket, said.
"There is no reason why Rohit can't be successful in Test cricket. I love Rohit. We've played together for Deccan Chargers in the IPL. I think Rohit deceives people. By that, I mean that since he is a laid back guy, people might think he is not working hard enough. In reality, he is world-class. If Rohit wants to be an opener, there is no reason why he cannot succeed," said Gilchrist.
"But it would take a change in his mindset, in his batting approach, particularly overseas. He's got to want to do it, no one should force him," he said.
Rohit has played with Gilchrist in the IPL during his stint for Deccan Chargers, now defunct.