- India will play a four-match Test series against England from February 5 onwards.
- The new selection committee led by Chetan Sharma would not like to experiment too much.
- The fit players on the tour of Australia will be entitled to a place in the team, Virat and Ishant are set to return
- Pacer Jaspreet Bumrah and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be keeping an eye on fitness
The Indian team will be selected for the first two matches of the upcoming Test series against England on Tuesday i.e. tomorrow. The new selection committee led by Chetan Sharma would not like to experiment too much as the fit players on the tour of Australia would be entitled to a place in the team. India will play a four-match Test series against England from February 5.
Virat and Ishant set to return
In the Indian team, captain Virat Kohli will return from paternity leave while pacer Ishant Sharma will return after recovering from injury. At the same time, fitness of Pesar Jaspreet Bumrah (tightness in the stomach) and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (Pete Dard) will be monitored. Bumrah and Ashwin could not make it to the final 11 for the fourth Test match being played against Australia in Brisbane. He is expected to be fit for the rest of the series and will be available for selection for the first Test starting in Chennai from February 5.
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Many players not available
Pesar Mohammed Shami (fracture in the arm), Ravindra Jadeja (fracture in the thumb), Umesh Yadav (muscle stretch) and Hanuma Vihari (muscle stretch) will not be available for selection. The Indian team will have to enter the bio-bubble (bio-safe environment) on 27 January for the first two Test matches to be played in Chennai (5–9 February and 13–17 February).
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Shardul and Natarajan will be reserve bowlers
The BCCI may select 16 to 18 players and some net bowlers for the first two Tests. Ishant recovered from side strain (muscle strain) and recently returned to competitive cricket with Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and looked in good touch. Along with Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj, he will lead the Indian pace attack, while Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan will be the reserve fast bowlers.
Pant and Saha will remain in the team
In the spin department, Jadeja can be replaced by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who has played a Test match against South Africa in 2019. Kuldeep Yadav will be the reserve wrist spinner in the team after Ashwin’s presence and Washington Sundar’s terrific performance in Australia. Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha will be the wicketkeepers while Mayank Agarwal and Lokesh Rahul can make a place for the reserve batsmen.
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Mayank will have a chance to prove himself on Tuesday, while young opener Prithvi Sau is almost certain to be discharged. The selection committee will meet at five in the evening.
Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal (reserve), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Riddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Siraj, T Natarajan , Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem and Kuldeep Yadav.
Virat and Ishant set to return