IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma returns as BCCI announces squad for first two Tests against England

  • BCCI announces 18-member squad for first two Tests against England.

  • Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur have retained their place.

After Team India scripted the mega win at The Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the squad for the first two Tests of the four-match series against England at home.

The selectors have picked an 18-man squad. Except this, four players are on standby while five players have been selected as net bowlers.

India regular skipper Virat Kohli has returned to the team along with veteran fast bowler Ishant Sharma. Kohli had returned to India from Australia to stay with his wife, Anushka Sharma, for the birth of their first child. The celebrity couple was blessed with a baby girl on January 11.

The apex Indian board has picked all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 18-member outfit to add more balance to the side.

The national selectors have also handed a call-up to left-arm spinner Axar Patel in order to strengthen the spin department.

The squad was finalised by the newly assembled Indian selection committee led by former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma. The meeting was virtually attended by Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and four other selectors: Sunil Joshi, Abey Kuruvilla, Debashish Mohanty and Harvinder Singh.

KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar are the four standby players whereas Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, and Saurabh Kumar have been included as net bowlers.

Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur have retained their place after producing heroics in the final Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Here is the main squad:

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), 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, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.

Standbys: KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar.

Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar.