The India senior-selection committee met in Mumbai on Tuesday to pick the squad for the upcoming Australia Test series that begins February 23 in Pune. The squad is only for the first two Tests. While there was no major surprise in the 16-man squad, the selectors decided to not pick Rohit Sharma, who has been away from cricket since October due to injury.
India retained the squad from the one-off Test against Bangladesh and the likes of Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya and Jayant Yadav are in the squad. The Virat Kohli-led squad also did not see the return of fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who was out of the team since the Mohali Test against England.
India will go into the Australia series after series win against West Indies in the Caribbean and home series win against New Zealand, England and Bangladesh. They are yet to lose a Test match since a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2015.
The batting department will once again see openers Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Abhinav Mukund. The batting will also see Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair. Wriddhiman Saha is the only wicket-keeper in the squad.
The pace bowling department consists of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya. India spin department will once again be led by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and and Jayant Yadav is the other spinner. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is also in the squad.
Injured Amit Mishra has been left out of the squad. India now have Rohit, Shami and Mishra out of the squad due to injuries.
India will play the four Tests at in Pune, Ranchi, Bangalore and Dharamsala. Out of the four, only Bangalore has hosted a Test match previously while Dharamsala, Pune and Ranchi are new Test venues.
The last time Australia visited India for Test series was back in 2013, when India completed a clean sweep in the four match series. In that series, Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with 29 wickets while Ravindra Jadeja picked up 24 wickets.
India squad: Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya