India announced their squad for the first three Test matches against England starting August, and it brought out smiles on the faces of a few fans. Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has earned his maiden call to the Test squad.
Rohit Sharma, a limited-overs superstar, has been axed from the Test team following his mediocre displays in the format. The team, which is led by Virat Kohli, will play five Tests over a period of month and a half starting August.
As expected, India have gone in with three opening options in Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. The middle order has skipper Kohli, Cheteshwar Puajara, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, who has been picked ahead of Rohit, and Hardik Pandya.
Wriddhiman Saha has been India's first choice wicketkeeper. But his injury has paved way for Dinesh Karthik to get a start. It also means Pant, whom fans have been desperate to see in the Test arena, gets a maiden call.
In the spin department, there is a call-up for Kuldeep, who will be fighting it out for a starting XI spot against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. India have gone with five pacers, which could go up to six should Bhuvneshwar Kumar be deemed fit.
There is Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur. Though, Bumrah will miss the first Test at Birmingham, and will only be available from the second Test.
Rohit was played in the first two Test matches against South Africa earlier this year, but the 'Hitman' of Indian cricket failed to make his mark. As for Pant, his form in the domestic circuit, as well as the IPL means he was finally given an opportunity to be in the reckoning for the Test squad.
Indian squad for first three Test matches: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-capt), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur