Cricket

Kohli, Ishant and Hardik back for England Tests

Indian captain Virat Kohli returned to the Test squad for the England Test series which is scheduled to begin on February 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Captain Virat Kohli, speedster Ishant Sharma, middle-order batsman Hardik Pandya and left-arm spinner Axar Patel have been recalled to India’s squad for the first two Tests against England, starting in Chennai on February 5.

The selection meeting was planned for Wednesday, but the BCCI, in a late development on Monday night, rescheduled it for Tuesday morning, and the committee headed by Chetan Sharma picked the 18-member squad via videoconferencing.

Kohli, who left Australia after the first Test for the birth of his first child, is set to return to action. Ishant, who suffered a side strain during the IPL, has proven his match-fitness during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and will lead the pace attack with Jasprit Bumrah.

Hardik, selected purely as a batsman, replaces the injured Hanuma Vihari while Axar Patel comes in for Ravindra Jadeja. The fitness status of Jadeja, Vihari, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav will be reassessed before the final two Tests.

Natarajan misses out

Opener Prithvi Shaw has been left out while Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar have been retained. Left-armer T. Natarajan misses out as well.

Given the need to maintain the sanctity of the biosecure bubble, the selectors have also shortlisted five stand-bys and five net bowlers. Openers K.L. Rahul (in the squad) and Priyank Panchal (stand-by) will have to prove their fitness at the NCA in Bengaluru before joining the squad in Chennai.

The schedule:

Tests: Feb. 5-9, Chennai; Feb. 13-17, Chennai, both 9.30 a.m. starts.

Day-Night Test: Feb. 24-28, Ahmedabad, 2.30 p.m.

March 4-8, Ahmedabad, 9.30 a.m.

T20Is: March 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20, all at Ahmedabad, 7 p.m.

ODIs: March 23, 26 and 28, all at Pune, 1.30 p.m.

The Squad:

Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shubhman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel.

Stand-bys: K.S. Bharat (w.k.), Abhimanya Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal*.

Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K. Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar.

* subject to proving fitness.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 7:15:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/england-tour-of-india-india-vs-england-series/article33611158.ece

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