Hardik Pandya in India squad for Tests vs England, Ishant Sharma returns
Pacer Ishant Sharma has returned to India’s Test squad for the upcoming series against England. Left-handed batsman Gautam Gambhir has retained his place in the 15-member squad that was named by the national selectors in Mumbai on Wednesday. Hardik Pandya has also made the cut.
Twenty-three-year old Pandya impressed during the recent ODI series against New Zealand. A limited overs specialist, this is a major break for the Baroda all-rounder.
Ishant, who was ruled out of the three-Test series against New Zealand after suffering from Chikungunya, returns to full fitness.
Spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were rested for the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, have made a comeback to the squad named for the first two matches.
The selectors have left out Rohit Sharma, who hurt himself during the fifth ODI against New Zealand and Shikhar Dhawan, who injured his finger during the second Test against New Zealand in Kolkata. Lokesh Rahul is also out injured, having suffered a hamstring strain while batting during the first Test against the Black Caps in Kanpur.
Chief selector MSK Prasad justified the selection of Hardik Pandya ahead of Stuart Binny.
“His pace has increased, his batting has improved, his personality has mellowed down. He has become equally competent in batting and bowling,” said Prasad.
The first Test starts in Rajkot on November 9. England are already in the subcontinent, having drawn a two-Test series against Bangladesh.
Visakhapatnam (November 17-21), Mohali (November 26-30), Mumbai (December 8-12), Chennai (December 16-20) will host the remainder of the India vs England Tests.
India Test squad: Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Karun Nair, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav.