India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who had fallen out of favour with the national selectors, has been recalled to the squad after around 14 months for the first two Tests against South Africa, starting on November 5.
Jadeja replaces veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is reportedly getting married to his long-time girlfriend, actress Geeta Basra, on October 29, and that’s why he would be unavailable.
What prompted Jadeja’s inclusion was his performance in domestic tournaments. He scored 149 runs and picked up 24 wickets in the two Ranji Trophy games for Saurashtra so far this season.
Harbhajan, who was sidelined from the Test squad since March 2013, made a comeback against Bangladesh earlier this year in June.
He played the one Test there and then featured in the first Test against Sri Lanka in the island country but he did not help his cause as he grabbed only one wicket from the 25 overs he bowled. He was out of the team for the second and third games of the three-match Test series.
Though offie Ravichandran Ashwin is still recovering from a side strain, he has been selected in the 16-member Test squad.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma has been included too for the Tests but he will have to sit out the first contest as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended him for a Test owing to his bad behaviour during India’s tour to Sri Lanka.
The selectors, who met in New Delhi, have made only one change for the remaining two One-Day Internationals (ODI) against South Africa, replacing Umesh Yadav with Sreenath Arvind, who played in the three-match Twenty20 International series which India lost 0-2.
India currently trail the ODI series 1-2 with the fourth match to be played on Thursday in Chennai.
For last two ODIs: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain, wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Axar Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sreenath Arvind, Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu, Gurkeerat Mann.
For for first two Tests: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.
Board President XI: Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Unmukt Chand, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Naman Ojha, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Nathu Singh, Karn Sharma, Sheldon Jackson