Team India to England | Cricket

Jadeja, Vihari back as no surprises in India’s squad for WTC final and England series

Indian team during the fourth Test against England in Ahmedabad. Team India will be facing New Zealand in the World Test Championship final from June 18 followed by England series. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Having recovered from injuries they suffered in Australia, the trio of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari and pacer Mohammed Shami has returned to India’s squad for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-Test series in England.

From the squad that took England on at home in February-March, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav have been omitted from a gruelling tour that will last almost four months. Pacer Shardul Thakur, who was released for domestic duties during the home Test series, has also expectedly returned to the squad.

Provisional selection

The national selection committee chaired by Chetan Sharma picked the squad through videoconferencing on Friday. Two of the 20 players — K.L. Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha — are selected provisionally and will have to clear fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before the squad’s departure for England. While Rahul underwent an appendicitis surgery last week, Saha was diagnosed COVID-19 positive on Tuesday.

Jadeja, Vihari and Shami were among those who suffered injuries during the tour to Australia and missed the home season of international cricket. Speedster Umesh Yadav also was ruled out midway through the Australia series but was recalled to the squad for the last Test against England in March.

When Hardik was recalled to the Test squad for the England series after more than a year, captain Virat Kohli had hoped his pace bowling will be handy in England. However, a shoulder niggle resulted in Hardik having not bowled at all during the Indian Premier League, thus forcing the selectors to not consider him.

Downswing

Kuldeep, on the other hand, has been on a downward curve over the last two years. Having disappointed in his only Test appearance in Chennai in February, Kuldeep’s omission for the England tour was on the cards.

Besides the 20 cricketers, the selectors have also announced four stand-byes.

It isn’t surprising that barring opening batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran, the other three are pacers since they will double up as net bowlers due to COVID-19 protocols. While Avesh Khan has travelled with the squad earlier, Prasidh Krishna made his ODI debut in March. Gujarat left-armer Arzan Nagwaswalla is the otehr one.

Arzan Nagwaswalla, a left-arm pacer from Gujarat, has been rewarded in the absence of the injured T. Natarajan.

It is understood that after serving a week-long isolation in Mumbai, the men’s and women’s squads will board the flight to England on June 2.


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 5:37:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/bcci-announces-indian-squad-for-world-test-championship-final-and-england-series/article34507518.ece

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