India Test squad for 2016 England series announced; Gambhir retained
The Indian selectors led by MSK Prasad have picked a strong 15-member Test team to face England for the first two Tests. Gautam Gambhir, who scored a fifty in the third and final Test against Kiwis has been included in the team while KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are yet to recover from the injuries they sustained during the Test series against New Zealand and have thus missed out.
The squad led by Virat Kohli has the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammad Shami – who were rested for the ODI series against New Zealand. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who suffered an ankle injury after the second Test against the Kiwis is yet to regain fitness and has been dropped from the team.
Also read: India’s possible playing XI to face England
Pace spearhead Ishant Sharma returns to the Test team to face the Poms after missing the New Zealand series due to Chikungunya. Jayant Yadav, who replaced Ishant for the series against New Zealand, is also included in the squad along with Karun Nair. Despite being the leading run scorer after the first four rounds of this season’s Ranji Trophy, Yuvraj Singh was not included in the team.
All eyes will be on Indian spinner Ashwin, who has been in the form of his life, taking wickets for fun, especially against visiting teams, who have had a problem in negating the spinner’s threat on turning tracks.
England could suffer the same fate when the series against India gets underway as they struggled against the Bangladeshi spinners in the recently concluded two-match Test series which ended 1-1.
While initially, the inclusion of Hardik Pandya and the exclusion of Rohit Sharma came in as a surprise, it was later announced that Sharma had sustained a thigh injury in the final ODI and is out for 6-8 weeks. Keeping in mind England’s inability to play spin, the selectors could have picked an extra spinner in chinaman Kuldeep Yadav instead of a pacer.
The Indian squad is set to assemble at Rajkot on November 5 as the venue is scheduled to host the series opener from November 9 to 13. Virat Kohli’s men will look for revenge against the Poms who beat the hosts under MS Dhoni when they last toured India in 2012.
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Karun Nair, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav