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Shubman Gill named in India's Test squad for South Africa series
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Shubman Gill named in India's Test squad for South Africa series

Shubman Gill has earned his maiden Test call-up for the three-match series against South Africa in place of opening batsman KL Rahul.

Gill, who was player of the series in the Under-19 World Cup last year, boasts a tremendous record in first-class cricket having scored 1,443 runs at an average of 72.15 across 14 games.

The top-order batsman made his ODI debut against New Zealand earlier this year failing to reach double figures in two outings.

He captained India A to victory in the first unofficial Test against South Africa A, accumulating a half-century in the first innings.

Rahul has been dropped from the side owing to a string of mediocre performances over the past year.

Although he got starts in the recent Test series win in the West Indies, the 27-year-old was guilty of playing needless strokes resulting in his untimely dismissals.

In the absence of Rahul, Rohit Sharma has been confirmed as the opener for the three Tests - a role he has consistently performed in white-ball cricket.

It remains to be seen who will partner Rohit for India's new opening combination as Mayank Agarwal and Gill serve as possible options for the vacant batting slot.

Rohit, who usually bats in the middle-order in his side's red-ball unit, last played a Test match for India against Australia in December.

Wriddhiman Saha has managed to retain his spot in the squad despite being overlooked for Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper across the two Tests against the West Indies.

Jasprit Bumrah, seen as the spearhead of India's pace bowling attack, is set to play the first home Test of his career.

He will be joined by Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as the other fast bowlers in the line-up with Umesh Yadav missing out.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will be expected to play an important role in the spin-friendly conditions.

The Test series opener will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 while the final match of the tour, which also involves three T20Is, will be hosted at Ranchi from October 19.

India squad

Virat Kohli (c), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill

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