Ravichandran Ashwin, Virat Kohli

India leads the ICC World Test Championship with 120 points, and South Africa is yet to play a Test match. 

In their home conditions, India – the number 1 ranked side in the world – will start as overwhelming favorites, but South Africa too have players to give the hosts a run for their money.

On Tuesday, the Indian team management announced the playing XI for the first Test of 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 in 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 red-ball.

Wriddhiman Saha, who was sidelined following a shoulder injury, will keep wickets for the first time since he last played a Test in January 2018. It was Rishabh Pant who was behind the stumps during India’s tour of West Indies.

Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s premier spin bowler, 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 play any of the three Tests against the Windies.

India’s playing for the first Test:

Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.