India unchanged for first two Australia Tests

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India retain same squad

India have named an unchanged 16-man squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming series against Australia, starting February 23 in Pune. There was no press conference or an explanation in the BCCI press release, but it can be assumed that batsman Rohit Sharma, fast bowler Mohammed Shami and legspinner Amit Mishra hadn’t yet recovered from their injuries.

The three national selectors met in Mumbai a day after India won the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. The recovery of the injured players would have been the only reason to change a winning combination for India. Even with the injuries, Shami is the only one India would have been remotely desperate about. Shami is considered to be India’s best pace bowler, and an expert at reverse swing. He injured his knee during the England Test series.

Karun Nair, who scored a triple-century in the Chennai Test, is available as a middle-order back-up, the spot Rohit vacated when he injured his thigh during the ODI series against New Zealand. He had to undergo a surgery in England, and resumed training last week.

Mishra was named as the fourth spinner in the squad for the Bangladesh Test, behind R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav. However, he injured his knee while diving in the bumpy Bangalore outfield during the final T20I against England. Kuldeep Yadav, the Uttar Pradesh left-arm wristspinner who was brought in as a replacement, retained his place in the squad.

It was unclear if Kuldeep, named earlier in the India A squad to play the tour game against the Australians, will play that match. Allrounder Hardik Pandya, another member of this Test squad, is captain of India A.

Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav

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