IND vs ENG: After a stunning County Championship season, Cheteshwar Pujara has forced his way back into India’s Test squad, announced on Sunday, for the upcoming rescheduled fifth Test against England, which will be played in Birmingham from July 1.
Pujara, who was dropped for the Sri Lanka series, piled up 720 runs in eight innings for Sussex, slamming four centuries – including two double hundreds – at an astronomical average of 120.
Ajinkya Rahane, though, remains an absentee as he was ruled out due to a hamstring injury he picked up in the IPL playing for KKR. Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha, the two other seniors who were dropped for the Sri Lanka series, continued to be ignored as the selectors have included the uncapped duo of Prasidh Krishna and KS Bharat in the Test squad.
The big positive news for India is that Ravindra Jadeja, who left the IPL with an injured rib and was also not named for the South Africa T20I series, is named in the Test squad; Jadeja had played all the four Tests last year in England with Ravichandran Ashwin benched throughout.
From the squad that played against Sri Lanka in the Test series earlier, openers Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal are left out.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will lead the pace attack, with other pacers in the squad being Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna.
Rohit Sharma, the captain, and KL Rahul, the vice-captain, will be the openers with Shubman Gill as the backup opener and Virat Kohli at number 4. It will be interesting to see if Pujara slots into the eleven; and if he does at whose expense: Hanuma Vihari, who batted at number 3 against Sri Lanka, or Shreyas Iyer, who has been in superb form in the last year.
Rishabh Pant is the wicket-keeper with KS Bharat the back-up. Apart from Jadeja, Ashwin is the only frontline spinner in the squad with Axar Patel not picked for his lone Test.
India currently leads the series 2-1. The fifth Test had to be rescheduled after India opted out of the Manchester Test last year because of a covid-19 outbreak in their camp. If India avoids a defeat, it will be their first Test series win in England since 2007.
India’s Test squad for fifth Test vs England:
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc) Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohd Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna
TEST Squad – Rohit Sharma (Capt), KL Rahul (VC), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohd Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna #ENGvIND
— BCCI (@BCCI) May 22, 2022
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