Bumrah called-up for South Africa tour

| | New Delhi

Gujarat speedster Jasprit Bumrah predictably got his maiden call-up in the 17-member Indian Test squad for the South Africa tour while rookies Washington Sundar, Basil Thampi and Deepak Hooda were summoned for the three-match T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka.

As expected, captain Virat Kohli will not be playing the T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka and his deputy Rohit Sharma will be leading the 15-member squad that also has former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Bumrah was included as the fifth pacer in the squad as chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, currently in the squad for the Sri Lanka Test missed out. The Test squad comprised three openers in Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay followed by four automatic middle-order picks in Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit.

The four frontline pacers -- Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma -- were also certainties just like spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Hardik Pandya is the only genuine all-rounder while Parthiv Patel, after his gutsy show against England last year, had booked his tickets for the South Africa bound flight.

"Definitely, the players select themselves on form. Definitely, this is the best balanced sides that has gone to South Africa," chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said when asked if this was the easiest selection meeting.

The 23-year-old Bumrah, who has 52 and 40 wickets respectively from 28 ODIs and 3O T20Is, has not played any first-class cricket this season.

"With regards to Bumrah, if you see his performance in the last 18 months, it has been phenomenal, sensational in ODIs and T20. Considering the his brilliant performance in last year's Ranji Trophy, he was an unanimous choice," Prasad said.

"There was no doubt in picking Bumrah because he definitely adds variety to pace attack. The nature of wickets in South Africa will suit his bowling," said Prasad, elaborating on the Gujarat slinger's selection.

Chinaman Yadav missing out on a Test nod was "unfortunate", according to Prasad.

"It is unfortunate that Kuldeep Yadav had to miss out as we will be playing only three Test matches in South Africa. Considering him over world's number 1 and 2 spinners (Ashwin and Jadeja) would have been a big ask. But he is a fine bowler and over a period of time, we would see him grow," the former Andhra stumper said.

On Parthiv Patel's selection as the second wicketkeeper, Prasad reiterated that he's being seen as the second stumper in the longer version after Wriddhiman Saha.

In the new look T20 squad, selectors have picked Kerala fast bowler Thampi known for his toe-crushing yorkers while Hooda, originally from Haryana, plays for Baroda at domestic level.

Washington, the 18-year old talented off-spinner all- rounder, was one of the finds of the last IPL for Rising Pune Supergiants.

On the youngsters selected in the T20s, Prasad said: "The Basil Thampis and the Shreyas Iyers have all done well in domestic cricket and then on India A tour to South Africa. Also taking performances of IPL, they are the best performers in the IPL." 



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