Cricket: India name Bumrah, Patel in squad for South Africa tests

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NEW DELHI – India handed a maiden test call-up to paceman Jasprit Bumrah on Monday, naming the right-arm fast bowler in a 17-man squad for the three-match series in South Africa next month.

Wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel also returned to the test ranks after a year out as back-up to Wriddhiman Saha.

“This is one of the most balanced sides to tour South Africa,” chairman of the selection committee MSK Prasad told reporters.

Bumrah’s unorthodox action and his ability to bowl yorkers almost at will have made him a limited-overs asset and Prasad felt it was time to blood the bowler, who turns 24 on Wednesday, in the test format.

“If you see his performance for the past 18 months, he’s been phenomenal … in both one-day and Twenty20,” Prasad said.

“Considering his Ranji Trophy performance last year, it was a unanimous decision. He definitely adds variety to our pace attack.

“Considering the nature of the wickets there, I think it will suit his bowling,” said the former India wicketkeeper.

Patel made a test comeback after an eight-year gap against England last year when Saha sustained an injury and the 32-year-old scored two fifties in four innings.

“When you go to South Africa, you definitely require two wicketkeepers, you cannot take a chance. We gave him an opportunity against England and he did beyond our expectations,” Prasad said.

Currently playing a three-test series against Sri Lanka, world number one India will leave for South Africa later this month to play three tests beginning on Jan. 5 in Cape Town. They also play six one-day and three Twenty20 matches.

Prasad also named the India squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka this month, resting regular captain Virat Kohli and putting Rohit Sharma in charge.

India’s test squad against South Africa: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.

India’s Twenty20 squad against Sri Lanka: Rohit Sharma(captain), Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat.