India announce squad for first two Tests against England; Kohli, Ishant, Hardik return

Mumbai, Jan 20 (FN Agency) The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday announced an 18-member Indian squad for the first two Tests against England, beginning on February 5 in Chennai. Virat Kohli, who had flown back after the first Test against Australia to attend his first child’s birth, returned to lead India against England with Ajinkya Rahane, who captained the team to victory in Australia, donning the vice-captain’s hat once again.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya was named in the 18-member squad along with Ishant Sharma. Both players were not a part of the squad in Australia due to their respective injuries. Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the final Test at the Gabba with an abdominal strain, will be back to lead the Indian pace attack comprising Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur. Some of the prominent names to have missed out had left Australia with injuries. Ravindra Jadeja (dislocated thumb), Hanuma Vihari (hamstring), Navdeep Saini (groin), Umesh Yadav (calf muscle), and Mohammad Shami (fractured arm) missed out as they haven’t still recovered from their injuries. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel has recieved a maiden Test call-up as a replacement for Jadeja. Wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who had suffered wrist and back injuries, respectively, keep their place in the squad. The only player dropped on the basis of performance is 21-year-old opener, Prithvi Shaw. The selectors have also named four stand-byes who will be inducted into the squad in case of anyone from the main squad was to be replaced. Five net bowlers will be also part of the team set up during the Test series.

India squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur

Standby players: K S Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal

Net Bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar