The countdown has started for the selection of the Indian team for the three-Test series in South Africa to be played from January 2 to January 28 next year. The BCCI’s acting Secretary, Amitabh Choudhary has convened the selection committee here on Monday evening.

With off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja returning to the squad for the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka and Murali Vijay too cracking a century here on Saturday - proving that all is well with his right wrist - the three-man selection committee in M.S.K.Prasad, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh along with captain Virat Kohli would have a clear idea of the squad for the first part of the tour to the rainbow nation.

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The three Tests will be played at Newlands, Cape Town (Jan. 5 to 9), Centurion (Jan. 13-17) and The Wanderers, Johannesburg (Jan. 24-8).

What will also be known on Monday is whether Kohli will be available for the third Test, three ODIs and as many Twenty20 matches against Sri Lanka. There have been hints from the BCCI quarters that he will be given a break.

Hardik Pandya, who was rested for the three-Test series against Sri Lanka, in order to manage workload and lessen his chances of injury, is likely to be recalled for the limited-overs leg of the series. The idea was to keep him fresh for the challenges in South Africa.

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Dhawan, back in the squad for the third Test against the island nation in New Delhi and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who got married recently, are automatic choices for the tour to the Southern hemisphere.

Tamil Nadu allrounder Vijay Shankar, who has replaced Kumar for the final two Tests of the ongoing Sri Lanka series, has been readied as a back up should an all-rounder get injured in South Africa. However, he is not expected to figure in the first 16 member squad.

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The selection committee will also announce the Indian team for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka (New Delhi, Dec.2 to 6), three ODIs (Dharamsala, Dec. 10, Mohali, Dec. 13 and Visakhapatnam, Dec.17) and three Twenty20s (Cuttack, Dec.20, Indore, Dec.22 and Mumbai, Dec.24).