India will be without Test specialists Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara for the first time since 2010 as the Ajit Agarkar-led BCCI selection committee left out both batters from the upcoming tour of South Africa.
The return of KL Rahul and Shryas Iyer means there’s no place in the squad for red-ball veterans Rahane and Pujara, both of whom featured in India’s XI for the World Test Championship Final against Australia in June this year.
Rahul and Iyer had been away from Test cricket due to their injuries. They both returned to the Indian ODI squad for the ICC World Cup 2023 and showed good form with the bat in the tournament.
But the ouster of Rahane and Pujara has left fans heartbroken as they feel this exclusion could mean the end of the road for two of India's biggest match-winners in Test cricket in this decade.
Rahane last played for India in the Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean in July while Pujara has been out of the squad since the WTC final in London. Their inconsistent run with the bat has led to their ouster from the Test squad.
During the tour, India A will also play two four-day matches against South Africa A and one inter-squad three-day match to prepare for the two-Test series which starts from December 26.
The first match will be hosted by the Proteas at the SuperSport Park in Centurion while the series-finale will take place at the Wanderers stadium in Cape Town.