India captain Virat Kohli will return home after the opening Day-Night Test in Adelaide after BCCI decided to grant the expectant father paternity leave. The decision means India are set to play three of the four Border-Gavaskar Tests – in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – without their batting talisman.
Ajinkya Rahane, the designated vice-captain, who has previously captained against Australia and Afghanistan, is likely to lead the red-ball team.
Meanwhile, ending an impasse, the All India Senior Selection Committee decided to add Rohit Sharma in the Test squad while granting him rest from the white-ball leg of the tour in order to facilitate his full recovery from a hamstring niggle picked up at IPL 2020.
In a media release, BCCI revealed that its medical team had been monitoring Rohit in the UAE after the injury picked up on October 18 forced the Mumbai Indians skipper to miss four games at the same time the squad ofthe Australia tour was picked.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who was also provisionally left out of the squad is rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru after an abdominal muscle tear ruled him out of IPL 2020 . The 32-year-old will be added to the Test squad upon achieving match fitness, the release informed.
T Natarajan replaces Varun Chakravarthy in T20I squad
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who jad earned hhis maiden call-up to the national team for the T20Is by virtue of his strong showing in the IPL, has been ruled out of the series with a shoulder injury. The selection committee have decided to replace him with left-arm seamer T Natarajan, who was previously named only among the reserve group of net bowlers.
However, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who was also on the reserves, will not fly to Australia as he is still working with BCCI’s medical team on his workload management. The 20-year-old star of India’s U-19 World Cup win of 2018 has been beset by a chronic back injury and only recently returned to active cricket and played 10 games for Kolkata Knight Riders.
No call on Saha; Samson added to ODI squad
Meanwhile, the board have decided to take a wait-and-watch approach with senior Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who has suffered injuries to both hamstrings during an IPL clash versus Mumbai Indians. The 36-year-old last played a home Test in Kolkata against Bangladesh with Rishabh Pant preferred on the overseas assignment in New Zealand.
The Selection Committee have also added Sanju Samson as a back-up keeper in the ODI squad.
India’s tour of Australia begins with three ODIs from November 27. They will be followed by as many T20Is and four Tests, culminating on January 19.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper).
Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj.
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan.