The Board of Control for Cricket in India named an 18 man Test squad for the England which is slated to begin from 1st August. India were the favorites to win the limited overs series. They managed to win the T20I series by a 2-1 margin. However, they lost the ODI series by the same margin. The home team bounced back strongly after losing the 1st ODI. They registered two impressive victories to keep their reputation of being the No 1 side. Here is the Team India Squad for First 3 Tests Against England
India Name Squad for First 3 Tests Against England
There are quite a few changes from the ODI and the T20I squad. There are 3 openers in the squad in the likes of Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, and KL Rahul. Inswinging conditions, Rahul might be preferred ahead of Dhawan. The southpaw had a relatively horrendous time in England during the Test series in 2014. Rahul has played brilliantly in Test cricket off late. However, England will be a totally different challenge.
The middle order will be led by skipper Virat Kohli. Cheteshwar Pujara will occupy the No 3 spot in all likelihood and Ajinkya Rahane, the vice-captain should come at the No 5 position. Pujara has been a pillar for India in home Tests. However, he hasn’t been able to replicate his form in the overseas Tests. He is a class player and this tour might just break the jinx.
Kohli has been a superb form across formats. However, he will look to make a strong comeback after a lackluster series in 2014. He managed to score only 134 in 10 innings at a below-par average of 13.40. Karun Nair has earned a recall back to the Test squad on the back of some impressive performances in the domestic circuit. He is only the 2nd Test triple centurion for India after Virender Sehwag. Dinesh Karthik will be the 1st choice wicket-keeper in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha. Rishabh Pant has earned his maiden Test call-up and will be the 2nd wicket-keeper for the long tour.
Karthik has been impressive in the limited opportunities he has got since his return to the national squad. Wriddhima Saha would have been the preferred choice for India. But the injury has forced to him to miss at least the first 3 Tests. Rishabh Pant who has been explosive might well get a chance as the series progresses. It is a big inclusion for the youngster and he will look to make full use of the opportunity if he does break into the Playing XI.
The three spinners in the team are Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. Yuzvendra Chahal will have to wait for his maiden Test call-up. Surprisingly swing bowling specialist Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not included in the squad. He has bowled well on the 2014 tour. Hence it was a real surprise. Kuldeep Yadav has performed quite brilliantly in the limited overs series.
He bagged 5 wickets in the opening T20I and returned with the best ODI figures by a spinner in English conditions in the opening ODI. He finished with 6/25 and single-handedly restricted England to a below-par total. Ashwin and Jadeja has been the premier spinners in Indian conditions. However, in England, there is a chance of Kuldeep playing as the lone spinner.
All-rounder and pace attack
Hardik Pandya was included as the sole all-rounder in the squad. He has been quite impressive in his brief career and will surely look to make a mark on his first tour in England. In all likelihood, he will be part of the playing XI. Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead the pace attack. However, he might not be available for the opening Test.
Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami are the two other premier pacers in the squad. Both Ishant and Shami have not played enough cricket in the recent past. However, they are in class and it will be just a matter of time before they get on to their act. Umesh Yadav has been included in the squad. He has been a sensational bowler for India. However, he had to sit out for all the matches in South Africa. It will be interesting to see whether he gets a chance here.
Shardul Thakur has been named as the only uncapped pacer in the squad. He has been with the Indian squad for quite a while now. He has impressed in the domestic circuit and also for India A. However unless any injuries, it is likely that Shardul has to warm the benches for the full series.
Here is the full squad
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Dinesh Karthik, (wk), Rishabh Pant (2nd choice wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur