According to The Indian Express, head coach Rahul Dravid has made game time an utmost priority prior to playing an international fixture for Team India.
Shardul Thakur was not included in the squads for the New Zealand series. The selectors thought a break would benefit him. With no cricket under his belt after the T20 World Cup, the only way Thakur can possibly prepare for the South Africa tour is by representing the India A team.
Dravid’s new policy of getting players match ready is also said to be the reason behind his exclusion from the squad for the Tests against New Zealand.
Given the conditions in South Africa, which tend to favor pace and bounce, Thakur is the front-runner for the fast bowling all-rounder spot. Hardik Pandya is far from contention, especially in Test cricket, given his current injury-plagued state.
Thakur has proven to be a very valuable asset in overseas conditions. His impact is evident through the contributions he has made in a handful of matches in Australia and England.
The board is likely to announce the squad for the Test series in South Africa after the culmination of the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur.
No clear reason behind Suryakumar Yadav’s apparent late inclusion in India Test team
Only a couple of players were included in both the Test team as well as the T20I side. While Suryakumar Yadav was originally not included in the Test team, he has reportedly been asked to stay back.
Team India currently have Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane as the mainstays in the middle order. The squad also includes another middle-order batsman in the form of Shreyas Iyer, who was handed his maiden call-up for the national Test side.
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Shubman Gill has been instructed by management to play in the middle order and Virat Kohli is also set to join the team in the second Test. Hence, the late inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav is a surprise to many. Suryakumar Yadav was also a late inclusion in the squad for the England Tests as well alongside Prithvi Shaw.