Mumbai: Uncapped pacer Shardul Thakur was the surprise pick in India's Test squad announced on Monday for the tour of West Indies.
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The 24-year-old right-arm medium pacer was included in a largely untouched 17-member squad with the selectors reposing their faith in the line-up that had played the last Test series against South Africa at home.
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Thakur was rewarded for his consistent performance in the domestic circuit where he took 41 wickets in 11 matches for Mumbai at an average of 24.51. His best figures in an innings were six for 107.
Varun Aaron, who was part of the team during the series against South Africa, was dropped and a fit-again Mohammed Shami returned to the squad which will have Ajinkya Rahane as its new vice-captain.
All-rounder Stuart Binny retained his place in the team announced by new BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke following a meeting of the selection committee here.
The team, to be led by Virat Kohli, also had no place for veterans such as Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh despite their decent performances in the ongoing Indian Premier League. The tour of West Indies comprises four Tests in mid-July but the exact dates for the series are yet to be formalised.
"No one has been rested. No one wrote to BCCI or called us (to say) they were not available or they should be rested. It was the decision of the selection committee to pick a young side for Zimbabwe and another side for West Indies," selection panel head Sandeep Patil told reporters.
There was a heated exchange between a scribe and Shirke when the question was posed on how Kohli could play in IPL with an injury but has been advised rest for Zimbabwe.
"The report which we have from Indian team physio Patrick Farhart says he (Kohli) needs rest after IPL. I am talking about the report, we go by the report," said Patil.
Shirke intervened to say, "Let's not look at things that way. It's my request. He's one of our top performing players. There's a medical advice even in the middle of a tournament. Let's not put things upside down that he's available for IPL and not for country."
The team for West Indies expectedly has five specialist pace bowlers -- Ishant Sharma, Bhuneshwar Kumar, Shami, Thakur and Umesh Yadav -- while Binny is also capable of chipping in.
The squad has three spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja, while Wriddhimaan Saha has been picked as the frontline wicketkeeper. Batsman K L Rahul can also keep wickets if required.
Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan are the two openers with the middle-order comprising Rahul, Kohli, Pujara, Rahane and Rohit Sharma.
Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (v-c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhimaan Saha, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Stuart Binny.