Kohli to lead India in 1st Test of Australia tour

  • AP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 11, 2014 12:14 IST

Virat Kohli will lead India in the opening Test of an upcoming four-match series in Australia after regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was diagnosed with a wrist injury.

"MS Dhoni has been rested for the first Test as a prophylactic measure to ensure optimum recovery," the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement on Monday. "He will join the team from the second test onwards and will lead the team for the rest of the test series."

The 19-man squad includes two other wicketkeepers, Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha, but it is expected that Ojha will return to India once Dhoni has recovered. That is likely to be for the second test.

The selection committee, which met in Mumbai, named rookie batsman Lokesh Rahul as the third opener, after Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, and included leg spinner Karn Sharma for the first time.

The 22-year-old Rahul, who toured Australia earlier this year with the India A side, was picked ahead of more experienced openers like Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag because of his superb recent form.

He scored a century in each innings in the Duleep Trophy final this month playing for South Zone against Central Zone.

The Duleep Trophy is considered to be a class above the national Ranji Trophy tournament because it involves the best players from each of the five zones.

Left-hand batsman Suresh Raina was recalled to the Test squad after more than two years while Gambhir was one of four players dropped from the side that toured England in July-August.

India will play Test matches at Brisbane (December 4-8), Adelaide (December 12-16), Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7).

The Tests will be followed by a one-day tri-series, also featuring England, before the World Cup is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14-March 29.

Recent series for the Gavaskar-Border trophy have been lop-sided affairs.

Australia beat India 4-0 during the 2011-12 series Down Under, but was itself humiliated by the same margin when it visited India for a similar four-Test series in 2013.

India has struggled to perform in away series in recent years with its most recent loss being a 3-1 defeat in England this July-August.

India was due to play three home Tests against the West Indies this season, but the games were cancelled when the visitors withdrew, after playing four one-day internationals, because of a pay dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board.

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