India announce 15-man squad for Afghanistan Test, Ajinkya Rahane named captain

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian team in Virat Kohli's absence

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian team in Virat Kohli's absence

Rahane's ouster from ODIs is surprising considering Indian skipper Virat Kohli, during India's tour to South Africa earlier this year, said that Rahane was a strong contender for the number four position for the Men in Blue.

When India's squad for the Afghanistan Test - the country's maiden match in the format -was announced on Tuesday 8 May, Kohli's name was absent from the list for the historic occasion.

Rayudu, who last played for India in an ODI against Zimbabwe back in 2016, has already aggregated 423 runs from 10 matches in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

Kohli is unavailable as he will be playing for Surrey in June to prepare for the Test series against England, which begins on 1 August.

The Malahide Cricket Club ground, near capital Dublin, is set to host both the matches, scheduled for June 27 and 29. Wriddhiman Saha is the wicket-keeper in the team. Kohli insisted that this was not the case, and the only admission that they might have done things differently came from Ravi Shastri, the coach, in the second half of the Test series. It is always good that he goes there and performs well and he is very keen. "It is only because of the English challenge which we have to rise through to the satisfaction of the entire cricket fraternity in this country and Virat wants to sustain for the right reasons", Choudhary said. "It is a great opportunity for us to win the series", chairman of selectors Prasad said at a media conference. Incidentally, the last Test match that he played was against Australia at Dharamasala in March, last year.

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However, it is highly unlikely that Nair will get a look-in in the playing XI against Afghanistan. Karun Nair (in the Test squad vs Afghanistan) is a bit of a surprise.

India also chose to manage the workloads of other test regulars, opting to rest batsman Rohit Sharma and pace duo Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah for the Afghanistan test. Kohli will also miss the two T20Is against Ireland and Rohit Sharma will lead the side in those two games as the regular captain will continue playing county cricket for Surrey until June end.

Pacer Ishant Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara - who are now playing for Sussex and Yorkshire - will return to India for the Test against Afghanistan. The Mumbai batsman, who was named as the skipper for one-off Test against Afghanistan, was dropped from the 50-over format which raised many eyebrows.

From India's previous T20I squad, which contested and won the Nidahas tri-series Trophy in Sri Lanka, Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar and Jaydev Unadkat have been replaced with Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul and Umesh Yadav. Shardul Thakur, who is yet to make his Test debut, will be the fourth pacer.

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