Rahul has not been able to score runs in recent times. Even in the two-Test series against the West Indies, he managed scores of 44, 38, 13 and 6. He hasn't managed a 50+ score since his 149 against England at the Oval some twelve innings back.
BCCI chief selector M.S.K. Prasad had earlier acknowledged that Rahul's form in Tests was a cause of concern for the team and that the board might have limited-over opener Rohit Sharma to open the innings in the five-day format as well.
Meanwhile, Gill has received his maiden Test call owing to his great run in recent times. Gill scored 90 and 5 in the first unofficial Test against South Africa A that concluded on Thursday to boost his chances.
Pacer Umesh Yadav has also been dropped from the squad that recently beat the West Indies 2-0 in the away series.
The first Test against South Africa will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 before the teams travel to Pune for the second Test from October 10. The final match of the series will be played in Ranchi from October 19.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill