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Pujara dropped; Jaiswal and Gaikwad in India's Test squad for West Indies

Mukesh Kumar has also been named in the squad; Mohammed Shami has been rested and Umesh Yadav dropped

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar have been selected in India's Test squad for the first time for the tour of the West Indies, while Cheteshwar Pujara has been dropped and Mohammed Shami rested. Fast bowler Navdeep Saini has also made a comeback to the squad in place of Umesh Yadav.
It means India will have a new No. 3 for the series after Pujara, 35, scored only 14 and 27 in the World Test Championship final against Australia earlier in June. Unless India move Shubman Gill down to No. 3, Pujara's spot could be taken by either Jaiswal or Gaikwad for India's first series in the 2023-2025 WTC cycle.
Ajinkya Rahane, who was India's highest scorer at The Oval, has kept his place after making a comeback following a 15-month absence from the Test team. He has also been named vice-captain. The rest of the squad, led by Rohit Sharma, includes most of the players selected for the WTC final.
Jaiswal had made the trip to London as a stand-by player along with Mukesh, after Gaikwad, who was part of the original list of back-ups, withdrew to get married. While Jaiswal and Mukesh are uncapped, Gaikwad has played ten limited-overs internationals; his most-recent an ODI against South Africa in October last year.
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Gaikwad, who plays for Maharashtra, has a first-class average of 42.19 from 28 games with six centuries, and his technique has impressed the selectors and team management who have been looking to bring him into the Test team for a while now.
Jaiswal has been prolific for Mumbai and has a first-class average of 80.21 in 26 innings. In his most recent first-class game - the Irani Cup - he made 213 and 144 for Rest of India against Madhya Pradesh. That aggregate of 357 is the most for any batter in an Irani Cup game. Jaiswal has the ability to not just open but also bat at No. 3 if required.
Mukesh is a workhorse who plays for Bengal. The 30-year-old is a line-and-length fast bowler who has built an impressive body of work in domestic cricket. He was key to Bengal making two Ranji Trophy finals in the last three seasons and has been on the Test radar for a while, having featured in every India A tour over the past two seasons. He has 149 wickets in 39 first-class games.
Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are all still recovering from surgery for various injuries, and with Rishabh Pant undergoing rehab after surviving a car crash last December, KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan have been picked as India's wicketkeepers in the Caribbean. Bharat has played all five Tests since Pant's injury, but has scored just 129 runs at an average of 18.42.
On the spin-bowling front, Axar Patel provides back up to R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Jaydev Unadkat, who has been part of every Test squad since the tour of Bangladesh last December, was also retained and is the only left-arm seamer in a fast bowling group that also includes Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Saini and Mukesh, all of whom have fewer than 100 Test wickets each. Saini has not played a Test since the famous victory at the Gabba in 2021.
India open their tour of the West Indies with the first Test in Dominica from July 12. The second Test begins on July 20 at Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. They won their previous Test series in the Caribbean 2-0 in 2019.
India's Test squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk), Navdeep Saini

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo