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Gaikwad, Jaiswal, and Mukesh earn Test call-ups for WI tour, no place for Pujara, Umesh

Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal and medium-pacer Mukesh Kumar have earned maiden Test call-ups for India’s upcoming tour of West Indies, starting from July 12 in Dominica.

The tour will be India’s first Test series after losing the 2023 World Test Championship final to Australia at The Oval earlier this month.

In the squad announced by the Men’s Selection Committee for the upcoming two-match Test series in the Caribbean which also marks the beginning of India’s 2023-25 WTC cycle, there are no places for veteran top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara, senior pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.

While Shami may have been given a rest considering the hectic workload of playing IPL 2023 and WTC final, leaving out Pujara and Umesh, while picking Gaikwad and Jaiswal, along with Mukesh and Navdeep Saini in the 16-member Test team, means it is the start of the transition process in the Test team.

Both Jaiswal and Mukesh were with the Indian team during the WTC final as reserve players, with the former replacing Gaikwad due to his wedding. With no Pujara in the Test team, it means India will have a new number three batter in West Indies. Ajinkya Rahane, who shined for India with scores of 89 and 46 in the WTC Final, has retained his spot and is also named vice-captain.

Jaiswal had amassed 625 runs in 14 innings of IPL 2023 for Rajasthan Royals and had a prolific run in domestic competitions. In the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy, Jaiswal scored 315 runs in five matches, averaging 45, including making a fifty and a century. He went on to make 213 and 144 in the Irani Trophy for the Rest of India against Madhya Pradesh, with his aggregate of 357 runs in the match the most-ever for a batter in an Irani Trophy match.

Gaikwad, who majorly plays as an opener, averages 42.19 from 28 games with six centuries while Mukesh is rewarded for his consistent run with Bengal in domestic cricket, taking the side to two Ranji Trophy finals in the last three seasons apart from regular appearances for India A in recent times.

For the three-match ODI series which follows the Test series, Ruturaj and Mukesh will be a part of the squad, with Sanju Samson joining in as the second wicketkeeper-batter option alongside Ishan Kishan, who is also in the Test team alongside KS Bharat.

Samson had last played ODIs for India on last year’s tour of New Zealand, and his inclusion for the tour of West Indies comes when the ODI World Cup is set to happen at home in September-October, apart from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant currently on a path to recovery post undergoing surgeries on the right thigh and right knee respectively.

India are also scheduled to play five T20Is and the squad for the same will be announced later. Windsor Park in Dominica will host the first Test match from July 12-16, followed by the second Test to be played from July 20-24 at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad. The second Test will also mark the 100th Test match played between India and West Indies.

The first two ODIs will be played at Kensington Oval in Barbados on July 27 and 29. The third ODI will happen on August 1 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad, which will be hosting a West Indies men’s ODI for the first time.

India’s Test squad: 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: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar 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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