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Pujara dropped; Jaiswal and Gaikwad in India’s Test squad for West Indies

Mohammed Shami has been rested and Umesh Yadav has been dropped in place of Mukesh Kumar.

Pujara dropped; Jaiswal and Gaikwad in India's Test squad for West Indies
Yashasvi Jaiswal had replaced Ruturaj Gaikwad as a reserve player for the World Test Championship final • ICC via Getty Images

For the first time, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar have been selected for the Indian Test squad for the West Indies tour, while Cheteshwar Pujara has been dropped and Mohammed Shami is taking a break. While Umesh Yadav was not included, fast bowler Navdeep Saini has again joined the squad.

The 35-year-old Pujara scored just 14 and 27 in the World Test Championship final against Australia in early June, after which India will have a new No.3 for the series. For India’s first series in the 2023-2025 WTC cycle, Pujara’s spot could be filled by either Jaiswal or Gaikwad, unless India send in Shubman Gill at No.3.

After a 15-month break from the Test team, Ajinkya Rahane, who led India in scoring at The Oval, has retained his place. He has also been appointed as the vice-captain. Most of the players selected for the WTC final make up the rest of the team, which is captained by Rohit Sharma. Meanwhile, Saini hasn’t featured in any Test match since their resounding win at the Gabba in 2021.

Pujara dropped; Jaiswal and Gaikwad in India's Test squad for West Indies
What next for Cheteshwar Pujara?

Jaiswal and Mukesh traveled to London as stand-by players after Gaikwad, who was on the initial list of back-up, backed out due to a wedding. Gaikwad has featured in 10 limited overs internationals; His most recent ODI was against South Africa in October last year. Jaiswal and Mukesh never got a cap.

Gaikwad, a player from Maharashtra, has a first-class average of 42.19 in 28 matches with six centuries. The selectors and team management have been eyeing him in the Test squad for some time now and are happy with his technique.

Jaiswal has a first-class average of 80.21 in 26 innings and has been very useful for Mumbai. His most recent first-class match, for Rest of India vs Madhya Pradesh in the Irani Cup, he scored 213 and 144. The total of 357 is the highest score by a batsman in an Irani Cup game. Apart from opening, Jaiswal also has the ability to bat at number 3.

Mukesh from Bengal is a hard working athlete. The 30-year-old line-and-length pacer has done a remarkable job in domestic cricket. He played a major role in leading Bengal to two Ranji Trophy finals in the last three seasons and has been a potential Test player for some time after featuring on India A tours in each of the last two seasons. He has 149 wickets in his 39 first-class matches.

KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan have been picked as India’s wicketkeepers in the Caribbean as Rishabh Pant is in rehabilitation after surviving a car crash last December, while Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are still undergoing surgery for various ailments. recovering from. Since Pant’s injury, Bharat has featured in all five Tests but has managed only 129 runs at an average of 18.42.

In the case of spin bowling, Akshar Patel supports R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Jaydev Unadkat, the only left-arm seamer, was also retained in the pace bowling group, which also includes Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Saini and Mukesh, each with less than 100 Test wickets. Jaydev Unadkat has been a member of every Test team since the Bangladesh tour in December last year.

India’s tour of the West Indies will begin with the opening Test match in Dominica on July 12. The second Test begins on July 20 at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. Their previous Test series against the Caribbean in 2019 saw a 2–0 win.

India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk), Navdeep Saini

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