Agarwal, Siraj earn maiden call-ups for Windies Tests

first_imgMAYANK Agarwal has been rewarded for his rich vein of form with a maiden call-up to the India Test squad for the home series against Windies, while the in-form Prithvi Shaw has been retained, with one or both standing a chance to make their debut during the two-match Test series.Pacer Mohammad Siraj has also been selected in the Indian Test squad for the first time.The 15-man squad announced by the MSK Prasad-led selection panel yesterday didn’t include both Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, while KL Rahul, who scored a hundred in the final Test against England at The Oval, in what was otherwise a low-key series for him, has held on to his spot.Mayank scored 1 160 runs in eight Ranji Trophy games last season at an average of 105.45, with five hundreds, two fifties and a highest of 304*.He extended his prolific form to the current season, with productive outings in the List-A games in England, as well as the first-class and 50-over games against both South Africa A and Australia A in August-September.He has achieved 50-plus scores in six of his last 13 outings since August, including a knock of 220 against South Africa A in a four-day game. Shaw, too, has been making the right noises since his first-class debut in January 2017, having scored seven hundreds and five fifties, including three-figure scores against Windies A and South Africa A.Siraj has been consistent with his performances for India A in recent months, picking up 40 wickets in his last five first-class games. After a rich haul of 15 wickets in the first-class games in England, he followed it up with 14 wickets in the two four-day games against South Africa A, and 11 against Australia A in one game. The Hyderabad pacer has already played international cricket, having featured in a couple of T20Is.Rishabh Pant, who was also responsible for India’s terrific fightback in The Oval Test with his maiden century, is expected to continue his role in the Indian XI as the wicketkeeper, with Dinesh Karthik being left out after a poor run in England.Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, the middle order also includes Hanuma Vihari, who scored a half-century on debut in India’s last Test. Meanwhile Karun Nair, who didn’t get a single game in England, has been left out.With the selectors not naming Hardik Pandya in the squad – who was left out of the final Test against England before picking up a back injury during the Asia Cup – India will be without a seam-bowling all-round option for the Windies Tests.Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin, who struggled with a hip injury during the England Test series, has retained his place, as has Ravindra Jadeja, with the spin duo also expected to play the all-rounders’ role.Kuldeep Yadav provides the third spin option for India, having been recalled to the team after being left out for the last three Tests in England following an average show at Lord’s.Ishant Sharma was also not considered for the series owing to an injury, while both Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested, with the latter only recently featuring in the Indian line-up during the Asia Cup after missing the England Tests due to a back injury.Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur will handle the fast-bowling duties with Siraj being the fourth option.The two-Test series gets underway from October 4 in Rajkot, while the second Test will be played from October 12 in Hyderabad, followed by five ODIs and three T20Is.India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wkp.), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur. (

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