Mumbai: India skipper Virat Kohli will be joining the team for the upcoming four-match Test series against England, as per the squad announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday (January 19, 2021). The BCCI announced the 18-men squad for the first two matches to be played at Chennai, and apart from the Indian skipper, lanky pacer Ishant Sharma has also made a return to the squad. 

Ishant was out with a side strain and recently made comeback to competitive cricket at the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and has been in a good rhythm. Kohli, on the other hand, was on paternity leave following the first Test in Adelaide, Australia.  

All-rounder Hardik Pandya who was not part of India’s Test squad in Australia has also been named in the team. KL Rahul, who left Australia after sustaining an injury during the nets, is also included for the Test series, but the Karnataka-batsman is likely to be available from the second Test depending on his fitness.  

Axar Patel has also been roped in the squad, while Hanuma Vihari, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami have been rested following their injuries during India’s tour to Australia.   

The Committee also picked five net bowlers – Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar. They also picked five players as standbys – K S Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal.

The first Test match of the series will begin from February 5, whereas, the second encounter will take place from February 13. 

India squad for first two Tests against England: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (subject to fitness after the first Test), Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel 


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