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England series: Ishant, Kohli back for first two Tests; Natarajan out

Last updated on: January 20, 2021 10:07 IST
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Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma are back in India's squad for the first two Tests against England. K L Rahul was also picked, subject to fitness.

 

While Kohli was set to return after missing three Tests in the just-concluded series against Australia, as he had taken paternity leave, Hardik's inclusion comes on the back of him working overtime on his fitness after returning from the Australia limited-overs' series.

His inability to bowl was a major concern for the team management.

Ishant, who missed the Tests against Australia, made his way back into the squad on the back of some quality performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

While it is a T20 tournament, it showed that he is match-fit.

Spinner Axar Patel also made it to the Test squad for the first two matches, while T Natarajan, who made his debut Test against Australia in the just-concluded historic match at the Gabba, in Brisbane, was not included for the England Tests.

The team, announced on Tuesday, has five standbys in Priyank Panchal, K S Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar.

Net bowlers -- Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham and Saurabh Kumar -- have also been included with an eye on the coronavirus situation.

The first two Tests of the four-match series will be played in Chennai. The cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.

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

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England's tour of India 2021

England's tour of India 2021