The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the Indian national cricket team’s squad for the first two Tests against Australia set to take place in Maharashtra and Delhi, respectively.
The results of these Tests will have a significant impact on India’s qualification for the World Test Championships.
Interestingly, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has made his comeback after suffering from injury in 2022.
However, his inclusion in the squad is subject to his fitness.
Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, who has been sidelined for almost 6 months due to a horrific accident, is not included in the squad.
Star batter Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan have been named in the red-ball squad for the first two home tests against Australia.
Surya’s accomplishments with the bat in the T20I format have earned him a place in the test squad, while Ishan has been included as a replacement for India’s first-choice wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Kishan has 2985 runs in First Class cricket at an average of 38.76 and has a highest score of 273, which he scored against Delhi in the 2016-17 Ranji season.
The test squad for the Border-Gavaskar trophy will see the return of batting mainstays Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli after missing out on the T20I series against New Zealand. KL Rahul and Axar Patel will also return to the test setup after missing the New Zealand limited-over series. KS Bharat has also been added as a backup wicketkeeper.
Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat has retained his place in the test setup. Unadkat recently became the first player to take a first over Ranji Trophy hat-trick in an Elite B group match against Delhi in Rajkot. Unadkat, the Saurashtra captain, removed Dhruv Shorey, Vaibhav Rawal and Yash Dhull off the third, fourth, and fifth deliveries of the match.
Aside from Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, who is a regular feature in home Tests, and Kuldeep Yadav form the spin attack. The bowling attack will be without Jasprit Bumrah who has been advised to rehab for another month but the attack still contains Mohammad Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and the ever-reliable Mohammad Shami.
Sarfaraz Khan, who was tipped to replace the unavailable Rishabh Pant, has been overlooked. The series starts on February 9 in Nagpur before the series moves to Delhi, Dharamsala, and Ahmedabad.
India have also named their ODI and T20I series against New Zealand starting from next week. The T20I group is without captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who are rested ahead of the visit of Australia. Hardik Pandya will again lead the side. KL Rahul and Axar Patel miss both series due to family commitments.
India squad v Australia (first two Tests)
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Kona Bharat, Ishan Kishan, Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav