Rishabh Pant earned his maiden call-up to Test cricket for the five-match series against England, which starts from August 1.
The Delhi wicket-keeper batsman comes in as a second wicket-keeper along with Dinesh Karthik, who had earlier replaced Wriddhiman Saha for the one-off Test against Afghanistan. Saha is nursing a thumb injury and his inability to recover in time from it has allowed the selectors to include Pant ahead of Parthiv Patel.
The 20-year-old was in destructive form in the Indian Premier League, hitting 684 runs from 14 matches at an average of 52.61. The diminutive wicket-keeper batsman slammed one century and five half-centuries for Delhi Daredevils in this year’s IPL. On the back of it, Pant was selected for India A’s tour of England as well and so far, he has hit three half-centuries and has performed decently behind the stumps as well.
Pant has 15 dismissals in eight matches including 14 catches and one stumping so far and is perfectly acclimatised to the English conditions as well as he arrived early in June for India A’s tour.
Other than that, Virat Kohli returned to the Test squad while Shardul Thakur was retained because of the unavailability of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who aggravated a lower back condition during the third ODI at Headingley. Mohammed Shami, who failed to pass the Yo-Yo Test ahead of the one-off Test versus Afghanistan, also made a comeback in place of Navdeep Saini, who replaced him for the Bengaluru Test.
A decision on Bhuvneshwar’s inclusion will be taken soon after assessing his condition, BCCI said on Twitter.
Rohit Sharma was again overlooked as Karun Nair retained his place ahead of the Mumbaikar despite of an average tour of India A. Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, who impressed in India A’s tour as well, couldn’t make it to the 17-man squad announced by MSK Prasad and Co.
The first Test will be played at Edgbaston and that will be followed by Test matches at Lord’s (August 9 to August 13), Trent Bridge (August 18 to August 22), The Rose Bowl (August 30 to September 3) and Kennington Oval (September 7 to September 11).
With India winning the T20I series and England bagging the ODI series, the Test series will decide who comes out on top between the two sides after two-and-a-half months of cricket.
India squad for first three Tests vs England:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.
News credit : Indiatoday