Shardul Thakur gets the call for West Indies-bound squad, Shami also makes a comeback

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Shardul Thakur

The Mumbai pace bowler, Shardul Thakur has earned a maiden Test call-up for the upcoming four-Test tour of the West Indies in July-August. Apart from Shardul, the quick Mohammed Shami has also been picked up for the tour. The 25-years old Bengal pacer last played an international match back in March 2015 and making a comeback after being forced out of the squad, twice, with a persistent injury.

Shardul Thakur earns test team call for West Indies tour

The 24-years fiery pacer Shardul was the main spearhead of the Mumbai bowling attack for the last couple of seasons and bagged 41 wickets with a brilliant average of 15.48 and played the pivotal role behind Mumbai’s 41st Ranji Trophy haul this year. Overall, Thakur has picked 133 wickets in the 37 first -class matches he played.

As expected, India’s current test captain Virat Kohli will lead the 17-men squad to West Indies this summer while Ajinkya Rahane has been nominated as his deputy. The BCCI selectors have kept the squad relatively unchanged from India’s last Test assignment – four matches against the Proteas at the home soil, late last year. The only two players to get axe are Varun Aaron and Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Shami and Thakur have replaced them.

Apart from Shami and Shardul, Indian pace battery will comprise of Ishant Sharma , Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Though Bhuvneshwar has not been picked up for the last South Africa series, but his bowling style could be proved handful in the low and slow Caribbean soil. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and the veteran leg-spinner Amit Mishra will take the responsibility of the spinning department and all come with a brilliant track record in similar sort of pitches. Jadeja has grabbed 23 wickets in the last test series against South Africa where as Mishra fooled 15 batsmen in the last concluded away series against Sri Lanka.

In the batting department, selectors again stuck with the three opening batsmen strategy. In-form Murali Vijay and KL Rahul both have included and despite a poor batting form in the test matches (6.50 in 4 matches against the Proteas ), Rohit Sharma get the nod from the selectors too. There was no doubt in Cheteshwar Pujara’s inclusion in the Test Squad as the Rajkot born classical batsman has been in a tremendous form in the domestic matches. The Bengal based Wicket-Keeper Wridhhiman Saha and the Karnataka born all-rounder Stuart Binny has also retained their respective places on the roster.

Virat Kohli took the baton from MS Dhoni in January 2015 after the world cup winning captain took retirement from Test cricket. Under his captaincy, India won 5 of the 9 test matches and the blue-eyed Delhi boy led two series triumph, one each against South Africa and Sri Lanka. The “Men in Blue” last toured West Indies for test matches in 2011, where India won the three-match series by 1-0 margin under the guidance of MS Dhoni.

Squad for West Indies: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny, Shardul Thakur, Amit Mishra.

On an another news, the selectors have also picked the 16-men squad which will visit Zimbabwe to play 6 limited-overs matches from June 11-22. India will play three ODIs and three T20 matches under the captaincy of MS Dhoni. Likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, R Jadeja and R Ashwin all have been rested for the tour. Yuvraj Singh is making a comeback in the ODI squad and the successful cricketers of the last domestic season Faiz Fasal, Yuzvendra Chahal ,Jayant Yadav and Barinder Sran all have been included in the Zimbabwe boarding squad as a reward.

Squad for Zimbabwe: MS Dhoni (Captain and wicketkeeper), Lokesh Rahul, Faiz Fasal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaspreet Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal

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