The BCCI on Wednesday announced the Indian squad for the 1st two tests against England. All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been included in the test squad for the first time in his career. Opener K L Rahul has been left out of the squad due to injury. Rohit Sharma too has not been named for England’s tour of India. MSK Prasad, chief selector said that Sharma, who pulled his hamstring during the last ODI against New Zealand in Vizag, might need to undergo a surgery. Virat Kohli keeps his spot as the test captain for India, while Ajinkya Rahane is most likely to play as his deputy. The squad is as follows: 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.
Off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who made his international debut against New Zealand, has also been named in the squad. Meanwhile, Karun Nair has also been included. Although, it is unlikely that Nair would get a place in the playing eleven, unless somebody gets injured. The first test will begin on November 9 at Rajkot. England will play 5 tests in India through a period of over a month, followed by 3 ODIs and 3 T20s.
England will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing to Bangladesh by 108 runs in the last test. Although, India has been in top form and sits at the top of the ICC world rankings. England will draw hope from the last tour of India, where after being defeated in the first test, they had come back to win the series 2-1. India will also be careful in their attempts to prepare dust bowls, despite no Graeme Swann or Monty Panesar in the English side. India had previously risen to the top of the ICC test rankings in 2009, following which they had travelled to England and lost 4-0. Team India would not like to repeat history; although this the longest home season the team has had in decades and is widely expected to win.