New Delhi: India A regulars like Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal will be in contention along with rookie sensation Devdutt Padikkal when the selectors Friday pick a 30-strong Indian team squad for the four-month trip to United Kingdom (UK). The Indian team are scheduled to play June 18-22 the World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Southampton. Then they will face England in a five-Test series.
The series will begin at Nottingham (Aug 4-8). This will be followed by matches at Lord’s (August 12-16), Leeds (Aug 25-29) and Oval (Sep 2-6). The final Test of the series will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester (Sep 10-14).
A 14-day hard quarantine for passengers travelling from India to UK is now in place. Also the existing COVID-19 situation in India has forced BCCI to pick at least 30 members in the squad.
There will be few places that are up for grabs. An extra opener’s slot could see a three-way fight between Easwaran, Panchal and Padikkal. Prithvi Shaw is expected to be back after getting his form back in IPL. He played only one Test in Australia and was dropped for lack of form. Easwaran and Panchal were back-up openers during the home Test matches against England.
Similarly Ishan Kishan and Kona Bharath will be fighting for the third wicketkeeper’s slot after Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha.
Axar Patel and Rahul Chahar could fight it out for the wrist spinner’s slot behind R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Hardik Pandya despite not bowling much will be the batting all-rounder. On the other hand Shardul Thakur could be used as the bowling all-rounder. In the absence of T Natarajan, the left-arm seam bowling option could be Jaydev Unadkat. However, youngsters Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan are also expected to board the England flight.
Mohammed Shami, Hanuma Vihari, Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to be back after recovering from their respective injuries.
Openers: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal/Devdutt Padikkal.
(Middle Order): Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari and KL Rahul.
(All-rounders): Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya
Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel and Rahul Chahar
Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Net Bowlers (Likely): Chetan Sakariya, Ankit Rajpoot.