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AXAR, JADEJA, VIHARI IN FOR ENGLAND TOUR

From India’s previous Test squad, Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya are missing.

Axar Patel Ahmedabad Test
Axar Patel starred for India with 27 wickets in his first Test series. (Credit: BCCI)

Axar Patel, the left-arm spin-bowling allrounder, has been rewarded for his stellar debut Test series earlier this year with a spot in India’s squad for this summer’s ICC World Test Championship final and the five Tests that follow against England. From India’s previous Test squad, Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya are missing.

In their places, Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari are back in the squad having successfully recovered from their injuries sustained during the dramatic Test draw at the SCG in January. Jadeja performed rather well for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021 while Vihari has been in England playing county cricket for Warwickshire.

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Axar is the third spinner behind Jadeja and R Ashwin for the tour of England, where two spinners are often rare to see. Axar claimed 27 wickets in three Tests versus England at home, at an average of 10.59 apiece while running rings around the touring batsmen with his unerring accuracy and clever changes of pace speaks plenty about his canniness. He might not He might not automatically start one of India’s Tests in England, but Ravi Shastri has indicated that it is possible that Axar features alongside Ashwin and Jadeja, at which point “there’ll be some fun”.

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India’s Test squad includes six pace bowlers as well as the spin-bowling allrounder Washington Sundar. Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the opening options.  KL Rahul, who left the IPL last week for surgery, and Wriddhiman Saha, who tested positive for COVID-19 on the day the 2021 IPL was postponed, have been named in the Test squad subject to being cleared for fitness.

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India’s 24-member squad includes four reserve players in opener Abhimanyu Easwaran and three pace bowlers in Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Arzan Nagwaswalla.

The WTC final is scheduled to be played in Southampton from June 18 to 22, followed by the start of the five Tests versus England from August 4.

India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-capt), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wk; subject to fitness clearance)

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla

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