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Will Gambhir retain his place for England series?

November 01, 2016 13:05 IST

It would be interesting to see whether the selectors repose faith in veteran Gautam Gambhir, who made a half-century in the second innings of the third and final Test against New Zealand in Indore, if KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are both passed fit to play.

Gautam Gambhir

IMAGE: Gautam Gambhir in action for India during the third and final Test against New Zealand in Indore. Photograph: BCCI

Fit-again pacer Ishant Sharma is likely to make a comeback when the national selection committee meets in Mumbai on Wednesday to pick the Indian team for the upcoming Test series against England commencing November 9.

"The Indian team is to be picked in Mumbai tomorrow," sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India said.

Although India trounced New Zealand 3-0 in the previous Test rubber, the selection panel, headed by MSK Prasad, will have quite a few things to consider before naming the team for the five-match Test series.

Injury to opener K L Rahul in the opening Test at Kanpur and the indisposition of Ishant Sharma gave the selectors an opportunity to recall veteran opener Gautam Gambhir and young off-spinner Jayant Yadav for the second Test at Kolkata.

Gambhir was included for the second match in Kolkata but got a chance to renew his interrupted career after a two-year gap when Shikhar Dhawan suffered a finger injury at Kolkata and was ruled out of the third and final Test at Indore.

Karun Nair was included in Dhawan's place in the squad but did not make the playing eleven, while offie Yadav also did not figure in the two matches.

It would be interesting to see whether the selectors repose faith in Gambhir, who made a half-century in the second innings at Indore, if Rahul and Dhawan are both passed fit to play.

To further strengthen his case, the left-hander also made 147 in Delhi's last Ranji Trophy match against Odisha.

Ishant Sharma

IMAGE: Fast bowler Ishant Sharma. Photograph: Getty Images

His Delhi team mate Ishant is expected to be included after recovering from Chikungunya. He was picked for the opening Test against New Zealand at Kanpur but could not play any part in the rubber.

Since his recovery, he has played two Ranji matches for Delhi, bowling more than 40 overs at a good pace.

The rest of the squad, to be led by Virat Kohli, is expected to be retained.

Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have not played a single match since they got injured and their match fitness is yet to be proved.

While Rahul is nursing a hamstring strain, Bhuvneshwar is dealing with an ankle injury and it is unlikely that any of the two would get a chance unless they are able to prove their match fitness.

Similar is the case of Dhawan, who is nursing a finger injury.

Meanwhile, the visiting England squad is scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on Wednesday from Bangladesh, where they drew the two-Test rubber against the hosts 1-1.

They are not scheduled to play any practice game and will have just one practice session on November 5 at the Cricket Club of India before leaving for the venue of the opening Test in Rajkot, according to BCCI sources.

"Currently they are to have just one practice session. If they want more it will be arranged," the sources informed.

England would depart for Rajkot, ahead of the series opener from November 9-13, either on November 5 evening or the next morning.

The Indian squad is set to assemble in Rajkot, which is to host a first-ever Test, on November 5 evening.

The other Tests are slated to be held in Vishakapatnam (November 17-21), Mohali (Nov 26-30), Mumbai (Dec 8-12) and Chennai (Dec 16-20).

Schedule: England's tour of India

Date Match Venue Time
Nov 9-13 First Test Rajkot 0930 IST
Nov 17-21 Second Test Visakhapatnam 0930 IST
Nov 26-30 Third Test Mohali 0930 IST
Dec 8-12 Fourth Test Mumbai 0930 IST
Dec 16-20 Fifth Test Chennai 0930 IST
Jan 15 First ODI Pune 1430 IST
Jan 19 Second ODI Cuttack 1430 IST
Jan 22 Third ODI Kolkata 1430 IST
Jan 26 First T20I Kanpur 1900 IST
Jan 29 Second T20I Nagpur 1900 IST
Feb 1 Third T20I Bangalore 1900 IST
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