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India vs England Test series: Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma return to the Test side

The Indian cricket team has a lot to cherish post the successful tour of Australia, where they beat the hosts in a well-fought battle by 2-1 in the four-match Test series, in what is being termed as one of the greatest series win by the Indian cricket team in the history of red-ball cricket. India had registered their lowest Test score in an innings, 36 for 9, during the second innings of the first Test, which was a pink-ball contest, at Adelaide Oval.

Amidst the four-match series, there were a number of injuries that the Indian cricketers sustained which made some of them unavailable at different stages. Pacer Mohammed Shami had fractured his right forearm in the first Test and Umesh Yadav suffered a calf injury during the second Test.

Also Read: 5 Decisions taken by Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni that changed the fate of Indian cricket

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja dislocated his left- thumb, while Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari suffered severe back tweak and hamstring respectively, in the third Test that forced them to miss the Gabba Test.

KL Rahul had sprained his left wrist while batting in the nets at the SCG. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah had put up with an abdominal strain after the SCG Test that ruled him out of the final feud.

Also Read: Australia vs India: This is one of the biggest days in my life, says Rishabh Pant post the Gabba Test win

In spite of these setbacks, the tourists, led by Ajinkya Rahane in absence of Virat Kohli for the remaining matches, scripted a comeback for ages in the immediate Test in Melbourne to level the series 1-1, which was followed by a draw in the third Test at SCG that kept the series alive for both the units.

With the Gabba Test win, India registered a noteworthy feat of winning consecutive Test series against the Aussies on their tour down under. And while the celebrations continue for the historic series win, Indian selectors have named an 18-man squad for the upcoming home Test series against England.

Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Hardik Pandya return to the Test side

Skipper Virat Kohli will be joining the Indian cricket team along with Hardik Pandya. Bumrah and Ashwin are likely to regain complete fitness by then, and along with pacer Ishant Sharma, who has recovered from his side-strain injury, have been picked for the Test series.

Vihari, Jadeja and Shami haven’t been named in the squad as the trio is still nursing separate injuries and thus, it will take them some time to recover.

Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar’s concrete exhibitions in the Gabba Test have earned them a place for the England series. Shardul emerged as India’s highest run-getter in the first innings, scoring 67 and 3 runs and picking a total of 7 wickets in the match, whereas Sundar aggregated 62 and 22 runs, and plucked four wickets in total.

Opener Prithvi Shaw had registered scores of 0 and 4 in the Adelaide Test and as a result, the right-hander was dropped from the playing XI remaining matches. Add to that, he hasn’t been picked for the England series.

Meanwhile, Gujarat cricketer Axar Patel has acquired his maiden Test call for the whites. Likely that he could make his debut as a like-to-like replacement for Jadeja. Axar, who has made 39 First-Class appearances, has amassed 1665 runs at an average of 35.42, including a hundred and 13 fifties, along with 134 wickets at a bowling average of 27.38 that comprise 6 four-fers and as many five-fers in an innings.

Also Read: 3 Legendary Test bowlers who failed with their performance in India

The 4-match Test series will commence from January 5, with the initial two Tests taking place at M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, followed by the remaining Test matches at the newly reconstructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, which is the world’s largest cricket stadium.

The likes of Shahbaz Nadeem, KS Bharat, Rahul Chahar and Abhimanyu Easwaran have been considered as stand-by players, in case any main player has to be replaced. Also, the selectors have picked Ankit Rajpoot, Sandeep Warrier, Avesh Khan, Saurabh Kumar and Krishnappa Gowtham as the net bowlers for the forthcoming series.

Team India’s squad for the first 2 Tests against England:

Virat Kohli (captain), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma.

Stand-by players: Rahul Chahar, KS Bharat, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Abhimanyu Easwaran.

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

Also Read: 4 Legendary Test batsmen who failed to deliver their potential in India

England’s previous tours to India

England had last toured India in 2016-17, wherein in spite of the draw in the first Test, they went on to lose the five-match series by 4-0.

Prior to that, England led by then skipper Alastair Cook had won by 2-1 in the tour of 2012-13, setting victories in the second and third Tests in Mumbai and Kolkata respectively. Chetehwar Pujara was the highest run-getter for the hosts, accumulating 438 runs in four matches, averaging 87.60, including a double ton in a winning cause in the opening match of the series.

Current English skipper Joe Root had made his Test debut in the last match of the Test series in Nagpur, where he scored 73 and 22 in the first and second innings respectively.

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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