India selectors met in Mumbai to pick the Test squad for the upcoming five-match Test series against England which begins in Rajkot on November 9. Gautam Gambhir retained his spot in the squad as an opener after KL Rahul failed to prove his fitness. Hardik Pandya was named in the squad as Rohit Sharma’s replacement who is battling an injury.
The MSK Prasad-led selection committee included Karun Nair and off-spinner Jayant Yadav in the 15-man squad. Out-of-form opener Shikhar Dhawan, who also is nursing an injury, lost his place in the team while pacer Ishant Sharma returned.
KL Rahul, who suffered a hamstring injury during the New Zealand series, failed to make a place as there was a question mark over his fitness. He also didn’t show up for Karnataka, his state team, for the third round of the Ranji Trophy.
Gautam Gambhir retained his place in the Test squad who was named as Rahul’s replacement in the New Zealand series. The battle for the opening spot ended Shikhar Dhawan’s stay in the team as the selectors axed him from the team after a poor run of form.
Hardik Pandya has been picked for the first time in Test squad. He made his ODI debut for India in the recently concluded New Zealand series which India won 3-2.
The team will be led by Virat Kohli with Ajinkya Rahane once again named his deputy. Cheteshwar Pujara was once again trusted to play his role at number three. Wriddhiman Saha will be the specialist wicket-keeper.
The spin department will once again be led by the prolific duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Amit Mishra has been picked as the third spinner while Jayant was also picked as the fourth spinner. In the pace department, Ishant Sharma returns after battling chickengunya which ruled him out of the New Zealand. He will be assisted by Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.
Last time England visited India, the home team lost the four match Test series 2-1 and drew a lot of flak for failing against a team which has not played well in the subcontinent.
India squad for first two Tests against England
Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Karun Nair, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Shamra