Kolkata: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday announced the squad that is set to take on the Aussies in the remaining two Test matches in Ranchi and Dharamsala. There haven’t been many changes from the previous squad for the first two matches.
All-rounder pacer Hardik Pandya was dropped due to a shoulder injury and in comes pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Pandya first picked up an injury while training at the PCA Stadium in Mohali during the Test series against England. This injury of his might be the primary reason to drop him, but the replacement for Pandya might be a tactical move by the BCCI.
We should keep in mind that the fourth Test is set to take place in Dharamsala. The HPCA stadium has always been a bliss for the pacers and Kumar can swing the ball both ways. His inclusion will provide good support to Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Ishant has been really economical, but his wicket-taking intentions seem to have disappeared of late. Undoubtedly, Umesh is one of the most experienced bowlers in the Indian team, but Steve Smith’s men didn’t seem to be much bothered by his pace and looked quite comfortable playing him. To add to the concerns of the team, Bengal pacer Mohammed Shami hasn’t been declared match fit yet. So, the inclusion of Bhuvneshwar may prove beneficial for the two veteran pacers and shall relieve some pressure of the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Murali Vijay who missed the Bengaluru Test due to a sore shoulder has been retained in the squad while Rohit Sharma, who expected a spot in the squad was left out. Coach Anil Kumble though clarified that the selections have been made abiding by certain protocols and not through personal choice.
Both Mitchell Starc (who has been ruled out of the series due to a foot injury) and Josh Hazlewood gave nightmares to the Indian batsmen and to add to that, Nathan Lyon confused the Virat Kohli brigade with his devastating turns. Having levelled the series 1-1, there is no room for errors at this stage. Keeping this in mind, the selectors haven’t made too many changes as it may disturb the balance and synchronisation of the team. Team India is all geared up courtesy the memorable turnaround in Bengaluru. Now, it’s time to celebrate Holi before the third Test begins on March 16.
The squad: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav.