India squad for WTC final: India have named a strong 20-member squad for their upcoming six Test matches in England.
The Indian selection committee headed by Chetan Sharma has refrained from making surprising changes to the Test squad for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final and a five-match Test series against England.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been predominantly playing as a specialist batsman across formats since IPL 2020, has been left out of the squad. Pandya, who was part of the Test squad for England series earlier this year, was expected to resume bowling following his back surgery. With him not contributing with the ball, accommodating him as a specialist batsman in the Test XI was always going to be difficult.
Another major omission is that of spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Despite being with the squad for years now, the left-arm wrist spinner continues to fall in the pecking order especially after the likes of Washington Sundar and Axar Patel making the most of opportunities presented to them at the highest level.
India squad for WTC final
Given the current COVID-19 scenario, a 20-member Test squad was on the expected lines. As a result, batsman Hanuma Vihari, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur have returned to the squad.
The rest of the squad remains the same which had played against England at home. Wicket-keeper batsmen Lokesh Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha, both of whom are down after acute appendicitis and COVID-19 respectively, have been added to the squad but their chances will depend on them regaining fitness in time for the flight to England.
Considering the unlikely situation of both Rahul and Saha not regaining full fitness for this tour, expect the selectors to name an additional wicket-keeper as a back-up despite Rishabh Pant being a certainty to feature in all six Tests. In such a situation, Srikar Bharat will be a front-runner to board the flight to England.
Batsman Prithvi Shaw and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar are two names who weren’t part of the England series but were expected to make the cut. However, none of them have been recalled to the Test squad.
India go to England with a lot of spin bowling all-rounders but no seam bowling all-rounder. Once it was clear that Hardik Pandya wasn’t bowling enough, it was clear he couldn’t make the team. Sadly, Kuldeep’s free fall continues.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 7, 2021
India squad for England tour – Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wk; subject to fitness clearance).