The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the team India squad for the last three Tests of the five-match series against England. Star batter Virat Kohli continues to be unavailable and will now miss the entire home series for the first time in his Test career. Meanwhile, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have been included but are subject to fitness clearance from the BCCI medical team.
Both the players had missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to quadriceps and hamstring injury respectively. Apart from Kohli, another big player absent from the squad is middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer who was reported to have been suffering from back injury and groin pain.
But BCCI hasn’t mentioned anything specifically about him, indicating that the Mumbai cricketer has been dropped from the squad following his poor showing in the first two Tests. He scored 104 runs in four innings with 35 being the highest and didn’t look in great shape while batting either.
As for Kohli, the board supports the cricketer as he is away due to a family emergency. “Virat Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. The Board fully respects and supports Mr. Kohli’s decision,” the BCCI said in a statement.
Bengal seamer Akash Deep has earned his maiden Test call-up after performing well in the three-match red-ball series against England Lions. He finished as the leading wicket-taker of the series with 11 scalps to his name at an average of 18.72. He was part of the Asian Games winning squad and was also picked in the ODI squad led by KL Rahul for the South Africa tour.
Other newcomers, Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan both have retained their spots for the remainder of the series. Patidar made his Test debut in the last game and though he scored 32 and 9 runs across two innings, the cricketer looks set to get a longer run in the team.
As far as Sarfaraz is concerned, he is likely to get an opportunity only if Rahul and Jadeja don’t get fit in time for the third Test to be played in Rajkot. Among the seamers, Mohammed Siraj has returned after resting in the second Test. Despite all the workload management conversations, Jasprit Bumrah is set to play while Mohammed Shami is still recovering from his ankle injury.
Avesh Khan and Saurabh Kumar who were part of the squad for the second Test have been left out to feature in the Ranji Trophy matches. As far as the Test series is concerned, the third Test is set to commence on February 15 in Rajkot before the caravan moves to Ranchi for the fourth Test from Februaty 23. The fifth and final Test of the series is scheduled to get underway on March 7 in Dharamsala.
India squad for last three Tests vs England
Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep