Team India have announced a strong squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final as well as the five-match Test series against England. Opener Prithvi Shaw and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are the notable exclusions from the 24-man contingent set to hit the English shores.
Shaw had a troublesome time Down Under in the 2020-21 Border Gavaskar Trophy and was dropped from Team India’s Test squad for the home series against England. Although he showed terrific form in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy as well as the IPL, the youngster might need to wait for his red-ball call-up.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled at full throttle since returning from back surgery. Despite rolling his arm over for a bit in the limited-overs series against England at home, Hardik played the IPL 2021 season as a pure batsman.
Team India skipper Virat Kohli was quite clear about Hardik’s role in the Test team, which had to be that of an all-rounder. The 27-year-old might need to get back to bowling regularly to make his Test comeback.
Team India’s heroes Down Under retain their spots
Team India’s historic Test series win Down Under was a testament to their incredible bench strength, who rose to the occasion in the absence of a number of first-team players.
With the fast-paced trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah likely to lead the attack, the likes of Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj have retained their place in the Test squad after terrific performances against Australia.
All-rounders Washington Sundar and Axar Patel have also managed to book their flight to England, despite first-choice picks like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being available.
Sundar batted incredibly well both Down Under as well as at home against England and has made a strong claim for a spot in the Test team as a pure batsman. Axar’s dream debut Test series against England, where he picked up 27 wickets in three games, has also seen him keep hold of his spot.
With an abundance of proven talent to choose from, the Indian team management are going to have some headaches while selecting their strongest possible XI.