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India’s playing XI for first Test announced

Rohit Sharma set to open the innings for India in Test cricket for the first time

The Indian team management announced the playing XI for the first Test of Paytm Freedom Series for Gandhi-Mandela Trophy against South Africa. The Test beginning on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi will be played at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam.

While Virat Kohli will continue to lead the side and Ajinkya Rahane will be his deputy, the upcoming Test will witness Rohit Sharma, India’s vice-captain in the limited overs format, opening the batting against the red ball.

Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who was sidelined following a shoulder injury, will stand behind the stumps for the first time since he last played a Test in January 2018. It was Rishabh Pant who kept wickets during India’s last Test series in the Caribbean.

The Indian captain called him the best wicket-keeper in the world currently and said that he was quite close to breaking into the XI in the Caribbean too. “Saha’s keeping credentials are there for everyone to see. He's played well for us whenever he's got a chance with the bat for us also. It was unfortunate that he was out for such a long period with an injury, and according to me he's the best keeper in the world. In these conditions, and with what he's done for us in the past, he'll start for us,” Virat said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

R Ashwin, India’s premier off spinner, will also return to the playing XI following his last outing in the Adelaide Test. Like Saha, Ashwin too was part of the Indian squad but did not feature in any of the three Tests in the Caribbean. The spin bowling duties will be shared by Ravindra Jadeja and India also have an additional option in Hanuma Vihari.

Team India for first Test:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wicet-keeper), Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.

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Umpire Nitin Menon set for Test debut

Son of a former international umpire, Nitin has been appointed as an on-field umpire for the Afghanistan-West Indies Test match.
Umpire Nitin Menon during match 18 of the Vivo 2017 Indian Premier League between the Delhi Daredevils  and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, India on the 17th April 2017

Photo by Deepak Malik - Sportzpics - IPL

India’s Nitin Menon is all set for his Test debut after being appointed as an on-field umpire for the upcoming Test between Afghanistan and West Indies to be played in Dehradun from 27th November 2019.

Son of a former international umpire, Mr Narendra Menon, Nitin joined in his father’s footsteps when he became a state panel umpire for Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association in 2005.

Nitin, who has represented Madhya Pradesh in U-16, U-19, U-23 & List A matches, cleared the All India Umpiring Exam conducted by the BCCI in 2006 and started officiating in BCCI domestic matches from the 2007-08 season.

Apart from 57 first-class games, Nitin has officiated in 22 One Day Internationals, nine T20 Internationals & 40 IPL matches.

An elated Nitin, whose ultimate goal is to become an ICC Elite Panel Umpire thanked BCCI for the support and faith shown in him. “The reason behind my smooth transition to international cricket is mainly because of the robust, competitive & professional structure of the BCCI domestic matches,” he said.

He added that the Umpires Exchange Program helped him in his overall growth as a match official. “The experience that I gained from officiating in our domestic tournaments & the opportunity given to me by the BCCI for officiating in the IPL as well as in first class matches in Australia, England & South Africa as part of Umpires Exchange Program has helped me in my development as an Umpire.

“I am happy to repay the trust shown in me and looking forward to facing the new challenges of Test cricket so that I can achieve my goal of becoming an ICC Elite Panel Umpire.”

BCCI Staff

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