Leeds: Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was named Wednesday in the 18-member Indian squad for the first three Tests against England, but senior batsman Rohit Sharma has once again been ignored for the five-day format.
The 20-year-old Pant has been named alongside glovesman Dinesh Karthik, who had played the team’s last Test against Afghanistan in the absence of an injured Wriddhiman Saha.
Pacer Mohammad Shami, who was dropped from the one-off game against Afghanistan after failing the YoYo test, has regained full fitness and has made his way back for the five-match series, starting August 1.
However, there is uncertainty over the participation of key pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the series after he aggravated a ‘lower back condition’ during the third ODI Tuesday against England. “His condition is being assessed by the medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon,” said the BCCI in a statement.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who was unfit for the ODI series, will be available for selection from the second Test onwards, the statement added. The other pacers in the squad are Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Ishant Sharma.
The sole fresh face in the squad is Pant. He averages 54.16 in 22 first class games with a triple century and India’s fastest hundred at that level to his name. Adjusting to the English conditions won’t be an issue for Pant as he has already been there with the A team in England for a month along with opener Murali Vijay, Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair.
Though skipper Virat Kohli had hinted a possible change in the spin department, the selectors have acted on expected lines by picking Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, who produced some outstanding spells in the preceding T20 and ODI series against England.
Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Murali Vijay,
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair,
Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja,
Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami,
Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur.