Injured Rohit Sharma Out of India Squad, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma Make Cut
Rohit Sharma failed to make the team because of a thigh injury. Gautam Gambhir was retained while Ishant Sharma made a comeback to the team. All-rounder Hardik Pandya is the lone new face in the 15-man squad
- Hardik Pandya is the lone new face in the India squad
- Rohit Sharma missed out due to a thigh injury
- The first Test England starts in Rajkot on November 9
TheIndian cricket team will be missing the services of most of its regular opening batsmen as Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan failed to make the cut, because of fitness issues, for the first two Test matches against England.
While Rahul and Dhawan were already nursing injuries, chief selector MSK Prasad on Wednesday said that Rohit "has a bad (thigh) injury and might have to undergo a surgery. It could take anything between 6-8 weeks."
Gautam Gambhir, on the hand hand, has been retained in the 15-member India squad thanks to a fluent half-century that he scored in the Indore Test against New Zealand. Pacer Ishant Sharma, who was diagnosed with chikungunya before the series against the Kiwis began, has recovered and been chosen for the England series that will commence on November 9.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was also left out due to fitness related issues. Prasad said Bhuvneshwar has recovered from his back injury but the selection committee wants the Uttar Pradesh seamer to at least play a Ranji Trophy game and prove his match fitness. Ditto for Rahul (hamstring) and Dhawan (finger fracture).
All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who won the Man-of-the-Match award during first the One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand, impressed the selectors to become the lone new face in the Indian squad. The Baroda cricketer has played four ODIs and 16 Twenty20 Internationals so far.
The selection committee, chaired by Prasad, fielded maximum queries regarding Pandya's inclusion and he stated that his "all-round abilities" with a see change in attitude after working under India A coach Rahul Dravid went in his favour.
"If you look at Hardik Pandya, his pace has increased. His overall personality has mellowed down. He did extremely well in the ODI series and also during the A tour Down Under," Prasad told mediapersons.
"We all have been trying to find an all-rounder after Kapil Dev. In case we play three spinners, he can be the second seamer and also can bat. We all know he is a bit hyper. But he has worked hard under Rahul Dravid and under chief coach Anil Kumble."
Prasad said that Stuart Binny's name was also discussed but the committee felt that Hardik with his increased pace is a better bowler.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) All-India Senior Selection Committee met at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
Karun Nair is the reserve batsman and Jayant Yadav is the fourth spinner in the squad after Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra. "We have been grooming him (Nair) for the last one or two years," said Prasad.
The pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav retained their places in the side. Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay, on the other hand, were automatic inclusions.
The visiting England squad arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday from Bangladesh after drawing the two-Test series 1-1 against the hosts.
They are not scheduled to play any practice game and will have just one training session on November 5 at the Cricket Club of India before leaving for the venue of the opening match, Rajkot, which will host the first of the five Tests from November 9 to 13.
The Indian squad is set to assemble in Rajkot on November 5 evening.
The other Tests are slated to be held in Vishakapatnam (November 17-21), Mohali (November 26-30), Mumbai (December 8-12) and Chennai (December 16-20) before the two sides also play three ODIs and T20Is each against each other.
India's squad for the first two Tests vs England: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Gautam Gambhir, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Karun Nair, Murali Vijay, Md. Shami, Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya.
(With PTI inputs)