The BCCI have announced the squad for the first two Tests against England, starting February 5, and have confirmed that the side will be led by the returning Virat Kohli, who is back from paternity leave. While there are no big omissions, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya return to the side.
On the back of the historic triumph against Australia, the BCCI have announced the squad for the first two Tests of the four-match Test series against England, and have confirmed that incumbent skipper Virat Kohli, who is back from paternity leave, will be taking over captaincy duties from Ajinkya Rahane. Kohli missed the last three Tests against Australia, but the 32-year-old will mark his return to the Test side in the England Tests.
Kohli, however, will not be the only big name returning to the side as both Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya have also been included in the extended squad. Pandya, who played in the limited-overs series against Australia, has not played Test cricket since 2018, while Ishant, who is currently representing Delhi in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, missed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy due to an injury he picked up in the IPL. KL Rahul, who did not partake in the Australia Tests after suffering an injury, meanwhile, has also been included in the extended squad.
While there were speculations that ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah might be rested, that has not been the case, as the speedster has been included in the squad, which also features Gabba heroes T Natarajan, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur. Mohammed Siraj, who picked up his maiden five-fer at Gabba, has also been rewarded for his stellar showing, while Kuldeep Yadav, who did not play a single Test in Australia, has been included. The only bolter in the squad is Axar Patel, who has been picked ahead of fellow left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
The trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Shami, however, have not been included in the squad, owing to them sustaining rather serious injuries in the Australia tour. Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini, both of whom broke down mid-match in Australia, have also not been included, while young Prithvi Shaw, whose technique was exploited and exposed by the Australian seamers, has been dropped altogether.
India's squad for first two Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur