India squad for first two England Tests: Kohli, Ishant, Hardik return, Shaw axed
- India vs England: The 18-man strong squad includes most of the faces that were part of India's scintillating series win on Tuesday against Australia in Brisbane.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India's senior selection committee on Tuesday announced the squad for the first two Test matches against England. Regular captain Virat Kohli returned to the squad after missing out the last three Test matches in Australia as he was on paternity leave.
India's pace bowling spearhead Ishant Sharma too is back in the squad after recuperating from injury and so is all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was named in the squad just days after losing his father.
The 18-man strong squad includes most of the faces that were part of India's scintillating series win on Tuesday against Australia in Brisbane. Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini, who were part of the squad in Australia, have been axed.
The injured trio of Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav too were not named as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
The selectors named three openers in the squad in Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal and it will be interesting to see who will make it to the playing XI in the first test match.
The rock solid middle order will be led by Cheteshwar Pujara, followed by captain Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane. Brisbane Test hero Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have both been named in the squad as wicket-keeper batsmen. Pant will be the favourite to retain his spot in the playing XI but Saha could also get a look in, given his superior skills with the gloves on the turning tracks in India.
Hardik Pandya is the lone genuine all-rounder in the team although Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar can both put their hand up for the same recognition after their show in Brisbane.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj add to the firepower in the pace bowling department while Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel are the two spin bowling options in the squad alongside Ashwin and Sundar.
KL Rahul too has been named in the squad subject to his fitness.
The selectors also named five players on stand-bye. Wicket-keeper KS Bharat, Bengal opener Abhimanya Easwaran, Gujarat opener Priyank Panchal and spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar.
The selectors also named five net bowlers in Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowtham and Saurabh Kumar.
Both these matches will be played in Chennai. The Test series begins from February 5. India will play the next two Test matches in Ahmedabad.
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- It was a bit of a surprise when England decided to play only three specialist bowlers in the fourth Test, picking batsman Dan Lawrence in place Jofra Archer who had played in the day-night Test but as it turned out Archer was forced to sit due to an injury.