After a dismal performance in the first Test, which resulted in an innings defeat at the hands of the Proteas, the Indian selectors made three changes in the squad for the second Test, which they announced on Tuesday. The second Test will be played at the Eden Gardens from February 14.
Rohit Sharma, who sprained his ankle just ahead of the Nagpur Test, has been replaced by left-hander Suresh Raina. Rohit was included in the first Test squad as a cover for injured VVS Laxman.
After being dropped from the Test team, wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik has found his place back into the side with a 150-plus score in both innings of the Duleep Trophy final. Karthik makes a comeback at the cost of young Wriddhiman Saha, who made his debut in the Nagpur Test. Seamers Sudeep Tyagi and Abhimanyu Mithun have also been dropped from the squad.
While Raina and Karthik have been included to bolster the batting line-up depleted by the absence of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, pace bowler S Sreesanth who missed India's last two Tests with a thigh strain, also made his way back into the squad.Sreesanth will be a welcome addition to the squad after Ishant Sharma bowled 28 wicketless overs in Nagpur.
The biggest story of the squad, though, was the selection of Raina, who made his international debut in 2005 and has played 87 ODIs. He is primed for a Test debut should Laxman fail the fitness race for the Kolkata Test. Being a left-hand batsman should make Raina a serious consideration after India's right-hand batsmen struggled against Paul Harris' outside-the-leg line in Nagpur.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, S. Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, S.Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina