India’s national selectors on Monday handed a maiden Test spot to promising fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah in a 17-member squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa.
Bumrah, 23, was rewarded with a place in the Indian Test squad, ranked number one in the world, after taking 52 wickets from 28 one-day internationals.
The bowler would boost India’s pace quartet of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav on seamer friendly tracks in South Africa.
“If you see his performance for the past 18 months he has been sensational. He has been outstanding in both one-day and Twenty20,” MSK Prasad, chairman of the senior selection committee, told reporters.
“He was a unanimous choice, because he definitely adds variety to our pace attack.
And considering the nature of wickets that they are (in South Africa), it will suit the nature of his bowling,” Prasad said.
Dashing all-rounder Hardik Pandya returned to the squad after opting out of the ongoing three-Test series against Sri Lanka over workload worries.
Pandya, 24, has become a key member of the Virat Kohli-led side since making his limited-overs debut last year. He has played in 30 of India’s last 33 matches.
Wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel also earned a recall, having last played against England in December last year.
“The players selected themselves. I personally feel this is one of the most balanced sides ever to have gone to South Africa. I am sure they will do well there,” Prasad, former wicketkeeper batsman, said.
India will play three Tests, six one-dayers and three T20 matches during the tour of South Africa which will kick off with a warm-up game in Paarl on December 30.
The first Test will begin in Newlands, Cape Town starting January 5.
Selectors meanwhile continued to rest star batsman Kohli for the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka starting on December 20, keeping in mind the gruelling tour of South Africa.
Rohit Sharma will stay as T20 captain after being given the responsibility to lead the side in the preceding three one-day matches against the islanders.
India’s Test squad for South Africa: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
India’s squad for T20 series against Sri Lanka: Rohit Sharma (captain), Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat.