Mumbai: Leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s injury-forced omission was the lone change as the national selectors today retained the formidable Indian squad, which hammered Bangladesh, for the first two Tests against Australia starting February 23.
Mishra had to sit out of the Bangladesh Test owing to a knee injury, which had prompted selectors to bring in Kuldeep Yadav as cover.
With Mishra still not fit, the selection committee, headed by MSK Parasad, retained Yadav in the 16-member squad for the first two games against Australia.
The matches are to be played in Pune (February 23-27) and Bangalore (March 4-8) respectively.
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Pacer Mohammed Shami, who was undergoing rehabilitation with the team before being forced to leave for him owing to his father’s death, has also not found a place in the squad. Shami had undergone a surgery to recuperate from a career-threatening knee injury.
Elsewhere, there wasn’t any change in the side with Ajinkya Rahane, Jayant Yadav and Hardik Pandya holding on to their places.
Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were automatic choices. The pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav also picked itself.
Wriddhiman Saha continued to be the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper. Opener Abhinav Mukund has also been retained in the side even though he did not play in the match against Bangladesh.
The Virat Kohli-led Indians, who are on a 19-match unbeaten streak, are scheduled to play four Tests against Australians.
The last two Tests are scheduled to be held in Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).
The squad for first two Tests against Australia:
Virat Kohli (Captain), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, W Saha (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund and Hardik Pandya.