MUMBAI: The Indian selectors led by Chetan Sharma on Tuesday named the squad for the first two Tests against England. Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Ishant Sharma have made their way back into the squad. Rahul has been picked subject to fitness.
While Kohli was set to return after missing the three Tests against Australia as he had taken paternity leave, Hardik's inclusion comes on the back of him working overtime on his fitness after returning from the Australia limited-overs series. His inability to bowl was a major concern for the team management.
Ishant, who had missed the Tests against Australia has also made his way back into the squad on the back of some quality performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. While it is a T20 tournament, it showed that he is match-fit. Spinner Axar Patel has also made his way into the Test squad for the first two matches while T Natarajan who played his debut Test against Australia has not been included for the England Tests.
The team has five stand-bys in Priyank Panchal, KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar. Net bowlers have also been included with an eye on the coronavirus situation and they are Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham and Saurabh Kumar.
The first two games of the 4-game series are to be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.
On Tuesday, Australia's fortress -- The Gabba -- was finally breached. It took 32 years and two months, but the unthinkable was achieved as an injury-ravaged young Indian team beat Australia by three wickets against all odds in the final Test to take the series 2-1. What makes the feat even more commendable is how the Indians fought multiple injuries and mental fatigue -- due to the bio-bubble restrictions -- to register a historic win.
India's squad for first two Tests against England: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (subject to fitness), Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.