BCCI announces India squad for first two Tests against England; Axar Patel gets maiden Test call-up
The four-match Test series will commence on February 5.
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Team India scripted history at The Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday to historically win the four-match series by 2-1. While the celebrations of the consecutive series victory down under are still on, India have announced the squad for the first two Tests of the four-match series against England at home. The selectors have picked an 18-man squad while four players are on stand-by.
The team has received a massive boost in their regular skipper Virat Kohli returning while Hardik Pandya has also returned to the mix in the whites. Kohli had returned to India from Australia to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child. The couple was blessed with a baby girl on January 11 and the Indian captain will be back for national duty now.
Ravi Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah are expected to be fit now after missing the last Test against Australia while Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami were not considered due to different injuries.
Axar Patel gets a chance to showcase his skills
Meanwhile, Axar Patel has received a maiden call-up to the Test side and the selectors might by looking at him as a like-for-like replacement for Jadeja. Axar has played 39 FC matches scoring 1665 runs at an average of 35.42 while also picking 134 wickets. Washington Sundar is also present in the squad who impressed on his Test debut in Brisbane picking four wickets and scoring 62 and 22 runs in two innings.
Shardul Thakur has also retained his place after his heroics at The Gabba while surprisingly, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not made it to the squad despite being fit and available. The pacer himself had commented on Monday saying that he is excited to play against England in Tests. Ishant Sharma who missed the Australia tour due to injury has also returned to the fold.
Meanwhile, KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar are the four stand-by players for the series according to ESPNCricinfo. The selectors have also named Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar as net bowlers for the series.
India squad for first 2 Tests against England: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Pujara, Rahane, Pant, Saha, Pandya, KL Rahul, Bumrah, Ishant, Siraj, Thakur, Ashwin, Kuldeep, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel.
Stand-by Players: KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar
Net Bowlers – Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar