India Test, ODI squads for WI tour announced: Pujara dropped, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mukesh Kumar earn maiden call ups

Written by Mohan Sharma

BCCI on Friday announced India’s Test and ODI squads for the West Indies tour. The selection committee’s patience with veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Umesh Yadav finally ran out as the duo were dropped from the Test side after a disappointing WTC final. Pujara’s dwindling returns ever since his return to the Test side a year ago were always a concern while Umesh Yadav’s lacklustre show against Australia in the WTC final put the writing on the wall. Young top-order batter Yashasvi Jaiswal and pacer Mukesh Kumar earned their maiden Test call-ups while Navdeep Saini returned to the scheme of things after a long gap.

Jaiswal was always on the selector’s radar after his fantastic show in IPL 2023, where he scored 625 runs at a strike rate of 163. What also went in the left-hander’s favour was his staggering record in first-class cricket. The Mumbai cricketer has an average of 80.21 in 15 matches with 9 centuries and a highest score of 265.

Mohammed Shami was given a break from both Tests and ODIs. Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur and Ajinkya Rahane held on to their places in the Test squad and so did spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel.

Interestingly, Rahane, who was nowhere in the scheme of things for about 15 months, was named as the vice-captain of the Test side following a successful WTC final where he ended up as India’s top run-getter riding on the back of a gritty 89-run knock in the first innings.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was first selected as a back-up opener for the WTC final only to be replaced by Jaiswal due to the right-hander’s wedding, also found a place in the 16-man squad for the two-match Test series starting July 12 at Windsor Park, Dominica.

“The Men’s Selection Committee has picked India’s squad for the upcoming two-match Test series and three ODIs against the West Indies. India are also scheduled to play five T20Is and the squad for the same will be announced later,” BCCI said in a release.

As far as the ODI squad is concerned, Sanju Samson was named as wicketkeeper-batter along with Ishan Kishan. In the absence of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, the selectors quite understandably decided to back Suryakumar Yadav at No.4, who has had a forgetful run in the 50-over format so far.

Mohammed Siraj will lead the pace battery. He will have Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat for support. Umran Malik made his comeback into the side while Mukesh Kumar was named in ODIs too.

For the spin department, there were no surprises as Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja picked themselves.

The three-match ODI series will begin on July 27 in Barbados.

India’s Test squad for West Indies series: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Navdeep Saini.

India’s ODI squad for West Indies series: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Mukesh Kumar.

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Mohan Sharma