India have left out Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Kuldeep Yadav from their squad for their World Test Championship final against New Zealand as well as the five-Test tour of England that follows. Hardik, whose workload has been constantly managed since a back injury in 2018, nursed a shoulder niggle during the IPL 2021 that kept him off any bowling duties in the seven games for Mumbai Indians. The all-rounder last played a Test on the previous tour of England in 2018.
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar , Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Ravindra Jadeja, one of the several players who suffered injuries during India’s tour Down Under last year, has made a comeback, but his replacement in the home Tests against England – Axar Patel – has retained his spot based on his exceptional performances. Also back is Hanuma Vihari who missed the home Tests against England after tearing his hamstring in the famous SCG draw.
The squad has three fit opening options in Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. Prithvi Shaw was in the scheme of things at the top of the order in Tests in Australia, but lost his spot following twin failures in the Day-Night Adelaide Test.
Shaw returned home, tweaked his technique that came into question in both his dismissals in that game and then enjoyed an unparalleled season for Mumbai in the side’s Vijay Hazare trophy triumph. Shaw also made head-turning performances for Delhi Capitals in the IPL, but seems to have fallen down the pecking order in Tests as the selectors went with KL Rahul as the fourth opening choice, even as his selection is subject to fitness clearance as he recently underwent surgery for acute appendicitis.
Kuldeep, who was once touted as India’s No.1 overseas spinner, has lost his Test spot after having spent the entire Australia tour on the bench, and then getting just one outing in the home Tests against England.
In the fast bowling department, India have the services of Mohammed Shami again, who returned to action in the recently-suspended IPL after a lengthy layoff since fracturing his arm in the Adelaide Test. He completes the six-man pace battery which includes Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj. Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t made the cut and is yet to play a Test match since winning the Man of the Match award in Johannesburg in 2018.
After the WTC final in Southampton, the Indian squad will head to Nottingham for the first Test against England from August 4. They then play the second Test at Lord’s from August 12; travel up north to Leeds for the third Test from August 25, before returning to London for the fourth Test at the Oval from September 2. The fifth game of the rubber will take place in Manchester from September 10.
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