New Delhi - India on Monday named a jumbo 19-man squad for the four-Test series in Australia starting next month even as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out of the opening match due to injury.
Batsman Virat Kohli will lead the tourists in the first Test in Brisbane from December 4, with Dhoni returning to the helm for the remaining three games, the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement.
Dhoni has opted out of the ongoing one-day series against Sri Lanka due to a long-standing wrist injury.
Dhoni's injury worries prompted the selectors to include two other wicket-keepers, Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha, in the unusually large touring squad that comprises eight specialist batsmen and five seamers.
Right-hand batsman Lokesh Rahul, 22 and leg-spinner Karn Sharma, 27, are the two new faces in the squad, having forced their way in with strong performances in domestic cricket.
Rahul, who can also keep wickets, is the third opener behind Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, while left-hander Suresh Raina was back in favour after playing the last of his 17 Tests in September, 2012.
Ishant Sharma leads the new-ball attack that includes Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron. The three spinners in the side are Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma.
The tour, which ends with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March, gives India a chance to improve their poor record overseas in recent years.
India have won just three and lost 14 of their 23 Tests away from the sub-continent in the last four years, enduring 4-0 routs in England and Australia in 2011 and a 3-1 drubbing in England earlier this year.
The series opener in Brisbane will be followed by Tests in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
The one-day squads for the subsequent tri-series against Australia and England from January 16 and the 50-over World Cup will be picked later.
India Test squad:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron
Coach: Duncan Fletcher