The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday, July 18 announced an 18-man squad for the first three Test of the upcoming five-match series against England, starting August 1.
While the Test regulars made it to the squad, there were quite a few surprise inclusions and exclusions due to injury concerns as well.
Karthik replaces Saha, Pant gets a maiden call-up
20-year-old Rishabh Pant has got his maiden Test call-up following Wriddhiman Saha's failure to recover in time from a thumb injury he had suffered during Indian Premier League (2018).
Pant made his T20I debut for India in 2017 and has played four matches since. The Delhi Daredevils star, who had amassed 684 runs in IPL 2018, continued his good run in India A tri-series and the unofficial Test against West Indies A in England.
Veteran Dinesh Karthik is likely to be the first-choice keeper for Virat Kohli's men in the first three Tests. He had made a return to the Test squad for the first time in eight years during the one-off match against Afghanistan in June.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma continues to be absent from the Test squad. The right-hander had scored two centuries, one each in the recently-concluded T20I and ODI series.
Captain Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane have been included, as expected. Karnataka batsman Karun Nair also finds a place in the squad.
Double blow for India as key pacers likely to miss the first Test
Meanwhile, both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, India's all-format pacers, are unlikely to be available for the first Test in Edgbaston.
Bumrah, who underwent a surgery after injuring his finger in the recently-concluded T20I series against Ireland, has been named in the squad. However, the right-arm pacer, who made his Test debut in South Africa earlier this year, will not be available for the Edgbaston Test, according to a BCCI press release.
TEAM NEWS: #TeamIndia for the first three Tests against England announced #ENGvIND. Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggravated a lower back condition in the 3rd ODI. His condition is being assessed & a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon. pic.twitter.com/lhlF65VRUP— BCCI (@BCCI) July 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar has not been named but the selectors will take a call on his inclusion.
"A call on Bhuvneshwar Kumar's inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon as he is being assessed by the BCCI Medical Team," the release read.
The 28-year-old aggravated a lower back condition during the third ODI against England on Tuesday.
Top-ranked spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been retained while Kuldeep Yadav, who troubled England in the limited-overs, retains his place in the squad amid calls for his inclusion in the playing XI.
India Test squad for the first three Tests in England
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.
England vs India: Test series schedule
1-5 August (Wednesday to Sunday) – 1st Test, Edgbaston
9-13 August (Thursday to Monday) – 2nd Test, Lord's
18-22 August (Saturday to Wednesday) – 3rd Test, Trent Bridge
30 August-3 September (Thursday to Monday) – 4th Test, Ageas Bowl
7-11 September (Friday to Tuesday) – 5th Test, Kia Oval