The Indian senior men’s team will be locking horns with England in a five-match Test series which will commence on January 25 and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a 16-man squad for the opening two Tests with Dhruv Jurel getting a call-up. The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad will play hosts to the opening match of this series.
Senior stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will continue to be the driving forces of the team, alongside star pacer Jasprit Bumrah and in-form Mohammed Siraj. Mukesh Kumar, who made an impressive debut against South Africa in Cape Town, secured his place once again as the Indian team awaits Mohammad Shami’s recovery from injury.
Ishan Kishan, who reportedly had complained of fatigue due to the excess travelling, has been left out of the squad for these two matches and is unlikely to make it to the remaining matches as well. This opened the door for the selection of wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel in the team, who receives his first-ever call up from the senior national side.
India’s squad for England Tests announced; Dhruv Jurel picked
KL Rahul continues to be India’s first-choice option as wicket-keeper while KS Bharat too made it to the 16-man squad. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who got a century on debut against West Indies, is likely to make it to the playing XI regularly as he awaits his first opportunity to play in the royal whites on home soil.
Shubman Gill, the highest run-scorer in international cricket, took up the No. 3 slot while Sharma and Jaiswal opened the innings. Gill, who was also recently named the captain of his IPL franchise Gujarat Titans, is expected to continue in that role. Shreyas Iyer might take up the No. 5 spot, while Kohli will continue as the No. 4.
India’s bowling attack will depend heavily on the spinners and the trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. In Jadeja’s absence, Ashwin and Axar demolished England the last time they visited India in 2021, picking up 59 wickets between themselves as India won the series 3-1. A fit Jadeja only makes life easier for the Indian side, who will also have extra batting depth.
Kuldeep Yadav, who had an unforgettable 2023, is also part of the squad and India also have the luxury to pick options among this very potent spin quartet. Kuldeep, though, hasn’t played a Test match since the two-match series against Bangladesh in December 2022.
Among fast bowlers, India will continue to depend on Bumrah and Siraj to take up a bulk of the responsibilities. Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan might have to wait out their opportunity if we are in for a spinner friendly track, as the side might move ahead with three spinnersalongside Bumrah and Siraj as the only pace bowling options.
After the Test in Hyderabad, the remaining four matches will be played in Vishakapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala.
India’s squad for the 1st and 2nd Tests:
Rohit Sharma (C ), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan.