Despite an upturn in form, veteran seamer Zaheer Khan has not been included in the Indian team for the two-Test series against West Indies. The first Test starts in Kolkata on November 6. Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too miss out on a berth as the selectors have retained the core of a team that has been extremelly successful in the limited-overs format in recent times. Cheteshwar Pujara is the only Test-specialist in the squad. The squad, of course, has the 198-Test-wise Sachin Tendulkar, who will retire after the series against the Caribbeans.
Ravindra Jadeja, who was sure to make the Test squad, has been ruled out with a shoulder injury. The Saurashtra all-rounder has been advised two weeks' rest after the end of the on-going ODI series against Australia, as a precautionary measure. This has helped either Pragyan Ojha or Amit Mishra retain their place. Meanwhile, Shikhar Dhawan returns to the India squad after missing the last Test versus Australia in April. He replaces Suresh Raina.
After an impressive ODI showing in recent matches, Rohit Sharma has been called up to the squad once again. Sharma, in great form, is likely to make his debut at No.6 with MS Dhoni dropping down a position. Ajinkya Rahane is also in contention for a middle-order berth. The side also features four seamers, including Ishant Sharma, and three spinners, led by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
India and West Indies will play two Tests - first in Kolkata and the second match in Mumbai. The 35-year-old Zaheer Khan was expected to lend some much-needed support to an otherwise jaded Indian pace battery. Yet, the selectors have gone in with a pace attack of Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the under-pressure Ishant. Zaheer last played for the national side in December 2012 before being injured. He, however, has made full recovery and even underwent a gruelling fitness program in France. Zaheer was among wickets in Mumbai's opening Ranji Trophy match against Haryana.
Both Sehwag and Harbhajan played their last Test in Hyderabad against Australia earlier this year. Sourav Ganguly was among many who had called for the return of Zaheer and Sehwag but the selectors seem to be sticking with their forward-looking policy.
MS Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma