All rounder Ravindra Jadeja and pacer Mohammad Shami returned to the Indian Test squad as the All-India Senior Selection Committee picked the squads for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final and the five-match Test series against England.
Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav fail to make the cut from the squad that played the England Test series at home earlier in February. In the 24-member strong squad, KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha’s availability is subject to fitness while opener Abhimanyu Eswaran and pacers Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla are named as standby players for the tour.
Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the 4th Test against England, also makes a return to the squad, while Washington Sundar and Axar Patel retain their places so does Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav in the pace department spearheaded by veteran Ishant Sharma. Shardul Thakur also makes a comeback after being dropped for the 3rd and 4th Tests against England. A surprise exclusion is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had missed the Australia and England series owing to a thigh injury but made a return in IPL 2021 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
There are no surprises in the batting department with Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill retaining their places at the top of the order alongside Rohit Sharma while the middle-order constitutes skipper Virat Kohli, his deputy Ajinkya Rahane and the designated No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara. Hardik Pandya’s exclusion may come as a surprise but the fact that he did not bowl much either in the IPL nor England series at home was a major red flag on his ability to deliver as an allrounder.
Jadeja returns from a thumb injury that ruled him out of the England series while Shami also is back to full fitness after fracturing his forearm in Australia. As expected, Rishabh Pant is the first-choice wicketkeeper but both the backup options Saha and Rahul’s fitness is yet to be assessed, even though they would travel to England with the squad.
India’s first stop will be in Southampton where they play New Zealand to decide the inaugural ICC Test Championship winner. Following their 3-1 win against England at home, India finished as the No. 1 side with 72.2 percentage points and booked their place in the final.
India will then take on England in a five-match Test series starting Aug 4 at Nottingham. The final Test will be played at Manchester starting September 14.
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, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed 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
18th – 22nd June WTC Final vs NZ Southampton
4th – 8th August 1st Test at Nottingham
12th – 16th August 2nd Testat London (Lord’s)
25th – 29th August 3rd Test at Leeds
2nd – 6th September 4th Test at London (Oval)
10th – 14th September 5th Test at Manchester