The BCCI, on Tuesday, announced the Indian team's playing XI for the first Test against South Africa, starting on 2 October in Visakhapatnam. While Virat Kohli will lead the side, middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane will play his deputy. 

The other batsmen in the side include Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, CheteshwarPujara, and HanumaVihari. As confirmed by ViratKohli earlier on Tuesday, WriddhimanSaha will be keeping the wickets ahead of Rishabh Pant, who has witnessed a dip in form of late. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who wasn't given an opportunity to play in India's tour of West Indies, has been included in the side as well. It may be noted that the Tamil Nadu accounted for an 8-wicket-haul against England when India had last played a Test match in 2016. Ravindra Jadeja will be assuming the duties of the second spinning all-rounder while the pace department will be shouldered by Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

Among other things, the game in Visakhapatnam will also mark Rohit Sharma's first appearance as a Test match opener. The dashing batsman, who was not picked in the playing XI in the Caribbean, has been given a new lease of life to revamp his career in the whites. 

India's playing XI for the first Test: Virat Kohli (C), AjinkyaRahane (VC), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, CheteshwarPujara, HanumaVihari, WriddhimanSaha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.

The hosts, who are currently leading the World Test Championship rankings, will be taking the field as firm favourites against the Proteas. The Virat Kohli-led unit is expected to put forth an impressive show yet again to secure the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy and register their 11th straight home Test series win.

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