Fresh from a historic victory in Australia, the Indian team will now turn their attention to the home series against England. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released the complete squad for the first two games of the four match test series.
Virat Kohli will be leading the team during these two games after missing three test matches in Australia due to paternity leave. KL Rahul has also recovered from a minor injury that he suffered in Australia before the third test, while Ishant Sharma makes a return to the Indian team after a long layoff from injury.
Akshar Patel and Hardik Pandya have been included in the squad, while Washington Sundar will also stay with the team after his heroics in Brisbane. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin are also fit to play these two games after missing the fourth test of the Border Gavaskar series due to injuries. Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj are also part of the squad after delivering good performances in Australia.
Prithvi Shaw has been dropped from the squad after featuring in only one test in Australia. Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami also missed out on the squad as they continue to recover from serious injuries that they suffered during the tour of Australia.
The first test match is set to begin on February 5, while the second match will be on February 13. Both games will be played at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. BCCI is likely to announce the squad for the last two matches later. The other half of the series will be played at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
It is a pivotal test series for India in the context of the World Test Championship. Boosted by the result in Australia, India can book a place in the final of the Championship by beating England 2-0 or more. Meanwhile, England will come into this series after playing two test matches in Sri Lanka. The English team will need other results to go in their favor and clinch a convincing series win against India to have a chance of qualifying for the final of the Championship.
Indian Squad for first two test matches against England
Openers: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (subject to fitnsess after first Test)
Fast bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur
Spinners: R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel
Standbyes: KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanya Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar
Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar