BCCI names unchanged squad for first two Tests vs Australia

NEW DELHI, 14th FEB: The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) senior selection committee on Tuesday picked the team for the first two Test matches of the 4-match series against Australia, which begins on the February 23 in Pune. The selectors retained the same squad which was picked for the one off Test against Bangladesh. The big news coming in from the selection meet is that India's premier pace bowler Mohammad Shami remains sidelined after picking up a knee injury during the series against England. Shami who was subsequently rested for the limited over series against England and the one off Test against Bangladesh is still not match fit and thus has been kept out of the first twoTest matches.

          Amit Mishra, who was unfit for the one off Test against Bangladesh remains out of the squad and his replacement, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has been retained by the selectors. Captain Virat Kohli, who will be aiming to take his unbeaten streak in Tests to 20 at Pune and beyond has a proven arsenal at his disposal. Murali Vijay and KL Rahul remain the chosen opening pair with Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund retained in the squad as the back-up opener.

          Wriddhiman Saha remains the only wicket-keeper in the squad and once again there is no place for Parthiv Patel in the team. Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will be expected to lead the pace bowling attack in Shami's absence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the third mediumpacer in the squad. With India expected to revert to the three spinnerstrategy against Australia, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav is the most likely trio that will get a go in the playing XI.

          Cheteshwar Pujar and Ajinkya Rahane also select themselves after a stellar show against Bangladesh, which could mean more time on the sidelines for India's triple centurion Karun Nair. Squad for first 2 Tests:
Virat Kohli (Captain), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, W Saha (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund and Hardik Pandya.

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