Budding all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been named in the 16-member Indian cricket squad for the three-Test series against Sri Lanka starting July 26. However, Karun Nair, who scored a triple century against England in December last year, and offspinner Jayant Yadav have been axed from the squad. India's regular opener Rohit Sharma, who last played a Test for India against New Zealand in October 2016, has replaced middle-order batsman Nair in the squad. Pandya, who has cemented his place in India's ODI and T20I squads in a short span, managed to grab the selectors' attention for the Sri Lanka tour. Pandya was included in the first two Tests against Australia earlier in the year but didn't feature in the final eleven.
Nair had gone off the boil after his triple century against England and could not even score a single half-century against Australia. He managed scores of 26, 23 and 5. Nair will be leading the India A side against South Africa, where he is expected to play both formats.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav managed to retain his place as the third spinner alongside senior pros Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Kuldeep had made his Test debut against Australia in Dharamsala in March this year and had claimed four wickets.
KL Rahul, who has completed his rehabilitation after an injury, will be playing his first international match since the fourth Test against Australia in March. He scored half centuries (60 and 51 not out) in both the innings in his last appearance.
Virat Kohli-led India are set to play 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and one T20I against Sri Lanka during the long series. The three Test matches will be played at Galle, Colombo and Kandy, respectively. This is the first time the two countries will be playing a full series (includes all three formats) in eight years.
India and Sri Lanka played their only full series against each other - three Tests, five ODIs and two T20 matches - in India in 2009. India won the Test series 2-0, the ODI 3-1 and drew the T20 segment 1-1.
India's last tour of Sri Lanka was two years ago in August 2015 when they played a Test series which they won 2-1. India won their last ODI series 4-1 in 2012. In the same year, India also won a T20 series 1-0 against Sri Lanka.
Virat Kohli (Captain), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice captain), Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, W Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, M Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.
July 26: 1st Test at Galle
Aug 3: 2nd Test at Colombo
Aug 12: 3rd Test at Kandy
Aug 20: 1st ODI at Dambulla
Aug 24: 2nd ODI at Kandy
Aug 27: 3rd ODI at Kandy
Aug 31: 4th ODI at Colombo
Sept 3: 5th ODI at Colombo
Sept 6: T20 at Colombo
(With PTI inputs)