India on Friday announced their squad for next month’s three-Test series against the West Indies, with the absence of Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar adding to a party already void of the injured Virender Sehwag.
While the left-handed batsmen Yuvraj and Gambhir have been sidelined due to illness and injury respectively, the BCCI have granted former captain Tendulkar permission to spend time with his family rather than tour the Caribbean.
Rookie opening batsman Abhinav Mukund and Virat Kohli, currently involved in the Indian Premier League with the Bangalore Royal Challengers, are the only uncapped players in the 16-man squad.
Meanwhile, Suresh Raina has replaced Gambhir as the one-day captain after regular skipper Mahendra Dhoni opted out of the limited-overs leg of the tour and IPL graduates Shikhar Dhawan and Manoj Tiwary have been called up as Yuvraj and Gambhir recover from a lung infection and shoulder injury respectively.
The 22-year-old Kohli’s graduation to the five-day fold comes two days after he expressed ambition to play Test cricket for his country.
“My main aim since childhood is Test cricket. It depends on when I get a chance, but my ultimate target is to play Tests,” said the talented right-hander, who has already racked up 54 ODIs.
“I want to play as much cricket as possible. If you have played for long, you feel you need rest at some point. The Indian team plays the most amount of cricket in the world. It is not a bad thing for seniors to take rest.”
In total, the tourists are without Tendulkar, Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan, Gambhir and Ashish Nehra for the one-dayers, while Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara are absent from the Test squad that locked horns with South Africa earlier this year.
The one-off Twenty20 International will take place next week Saturday, with five ODIs and three Tests to follow across mid-June through early-July.
Test squad: Mahendra Dhoni (captain), VVS Laxman (vice-captain), Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Subramaniam Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Shantha Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel.
Limited-overs squad: Suresh Raina (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel, Parthiv Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Shikhar Dhawan. Cricket365