Dinesh Karthik is close to making another Test comeback after replacing the injured Wriddhiman Saha in the India squad for the Bangalore match against Afghanistan starting on June 14.
Karthik, who just turned 33, has had a roller-coaster Test career and will be making his sixth comeback into the national side.
The latest selection is also reward for his fine batting in the last two seasons, in first-class cricket as well as in limited overs formats, for India as well as Kolkata Knight Riders in Indian Premier League.
The Indian team management also want Karthik to be ready if his services are required during the July-September tour of England, as Saha recovers from the thumb injury suffered during IPL.
Karthik played three Tests in England on the 2007 series, though as a batsman with Dhoni keeping wicket.
The Tamil Nadu player made his Test debut as a 19-year-old at Mumbai in 2004 against Australia.
But a year later, Karthik failed to seal his spot and MS Dhoni’s arrival relegated all other India aspirants.
Karthik has played 23 Tests, seven purely as a batsman, across six years.
He will make a comeback after eight years, having last played a Test against Bangladesh in January, 2010.
Karthik’s inclusion also follows the failure of Parthiv Patel in the two Tests he played in South Africa early this year after replacing an injured Saha.
The left-hander, who can open or bat lower down the order, managed only 56 runs in four innings across the two Tests.
While Patel was already in the squad, Karthik was called up as a replacement for Saha, 33, who missed the two games following a left hamstring injury.