India Squad For The First Two Tests of England Series Announced
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the squad for the first two Tests against England. Surprsingly, Hardik Pandya, who made his ODI debut in the series against New Zealand has been called up. Unfit KL Rahul has not been included while both Gautam Gambhir and Karun Nair getting the opening slot along with Murali Vijay.
Supporting their decision to include Hardik Pandya in the squad, the chief selector MSK Prasad said “Dravid worked hard on Pandya’s mental coaching in India A tour. Now Kumble is doing same. He is a genuine all-rounder.” Dravid was with India A team that toured Australia to play a tri-series followed by two unofficial Test matches against Australia A. Pandya could just score 86 runs and could scalp four wickets in two unofficial Test matches. In seven List A games, Pandya scored a total of mere 47 runs in five innings, his tally also showed five wickets but this record does not justify his selection at all.
However, selectors went on to support his selection rating him as the best all-rounder at the moment “In case we want to play three spinners Pandya is a better bowling option than Stuart Binny (or Rishi Dhawan) at the moment” said MSK Prasad.
Rohit Sharma, who was injured during the final ODI has been forced to may for otherse . He is set to be out of action for 6-8 weeks because of a thigh strain.
Ishant Sharma has also made a comeback after missing the Test series against New Zealand due to chikungunya. He proved his match fitness in the two Ranji games which he played before the selection of the squad. Fast-bowler Shardul Thakur has been dropped.
The first Test match of the series will be played in Rajkot from November 9. SCA has organised a felicitation ceremony before the start of the game to commemorate the first ever Test match at Rajkot. Visakhapatnam, Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai will host the succeeding four games.
Indian squad for the first two Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Karun Nair, M Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Jayant Yadav
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