The BCCI have announced an extended squad for the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand next month and have left out the duo of Prithvi Shaw and Hardik Pandya, while retaining Mayank Agarwal. Meanwhile, opener KL Rahul has also been included, subject to fitness clearance.
The BCCI have announced an extended squad for the World Test Championship against New Zealand next month and while there are not many major surprises, the exclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya has come as a bit of a shock. Pandya last played Test cricket in 2018 against England and was even described as a Test candidate by skipper Virat Kohli as early as two months ago, but the national selectors have taken the surprising call of omitting the 27-year-old.
Pandya is not the only major name to miss out as opener Prithvi Shaw, who featured in each of India’s last two away tours, has also been left out. Shaw endured a rough patch in the Australia tour and was left out of the home series against England, but the youngster has been overlooked despite his resurgence with the bat in the shorter formats of the game.
Apart from the duo, there is also no place in the squad for pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is renowned to be the most lethal swing bowler in the country. Bhuvneshwar missed the 2018 England tour due to injury, and concerns over his fitness have seen the selectors snub the veteran for the longest format of the game. Kuldeep Yadav, who has seen himself fall out of favour in all formats of the game, has also been left out of the squad.
Youngsters Washington Sundar and Shubman Gill have retained their places, while the experienced Hanuma Vihari, who recently had a county stint with Warwickshire, has also been named in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury that he sustained during the Australia Tests. Surprisingly, there is also a place in the squad for opener KL Rahul, who will be included subject to passing a fitness test.
India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla