The BCCI, on Monday, announced the Test squad for the forthcoming tour of Australia and handed call-ups to RCB seamers Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini, while leaving out all-rounder Hardik Pandya. However, there was no place for Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma due to them nursing injuries.
With team India slated to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in just over a month’s time, the BCCI, on Monday, announced a 15-man Test squad for the four-match series versus Australia. Surprises in the squad were few and far between, but among the notable inclusions in the squad were Royal Challengers Bangalore seamers Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj. While the Australia assignment will be Navdeep Saini’s second straight SENA tour, after having been a part of India’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year, Siraj, meanwhile, will make a comeback to the Indian squad after almost two years, having last found himself as a part of the squad versus the Windies back in 2018.
But while both Saini and Siraj will be priming to don the whites, one person who will not be associated with the Test side is all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was left out of the Test squad by the selectors. Pandya, who underwent a back surgery towards the fag end of 2019, last played a Test in 2018 and doubts over his bowling fitness has meant that his involvement with the Indian side in the Australia tour will be restricted to coloured clothing. KL Rahul, on the back of his IPL exploits, has also been called up to the Test squad as a back-up opener even though the side have three of them already.
The board didn't name Ishant Sharma in the squad too. The 32-year-old seamer, who spearheaded the Indian attack in the 2018 series, is currently nursing an injury but has been named in the squad tentatively, and will join the rest of the group subject to a fitness test as the BCCI announced. The same has been the case with Rohit Sharma as well. Clarifying the omission of Rohit and Ishant, the BCCI, in their press release, said, "The BCCI Medical Team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma." Thus should both players recover in time for the Australia tour, and prove their fitness, they will be added to the squad.
Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who was overlooked for the New Zealand, was also named as a part of the squad, on the back of his impressive performance Down Under a couple of years ago.
Barring the aforementioned changes, the players who will board the plane to Australia will be the ones who were part of the 2-0 New Zealand drubbing earlier in the year. Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujar and Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav have all retained their places, so have spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and the pace trio of Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami. Contrary to reports, skipper Virat Kohli will lead the side despite expecting the birth of his first child towards the fag end of the tour.
The BCCI have also confirmed that four additional bowlers - Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T. Natarajan - will travel with the Indian contingent.
Team India Test squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar, Ajinkya(vc), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj