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Fit Saha Back in Mix, Kohli to Lead Full Strength Side For West Indies Tests

Cricketnext Staff |July 22, 2019, 9:41 AM IST
Fit Saha Back in Mix, Kohli to Lead Full Strength Side For West Indies Tests

Virat Kohli will lead a strong 16-member squad as India face the West Indies in a two-match Test series, which will be a part of the World Test Championships, the BCCI announced on Sunday (July 21).

Wriddhiman Saha has returned for the first time since January 2018 after a lengthy battle with injuries but will remain backup wicket-keeper to Rishabh Pant. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested from the preceding three-match Twenty20 International and three-match One-Day International series will return for the Tests. Hardik Pandya too has been rested from all three formats after he suffered a groin injury during the World Cup and will undergo a programme according to chief selector MSK Prasad.

"Rishabh Pant has not done anything wrong for his non-inclusion. He's the only wicketkeeper to get a 100 in England and Australia. Pant will play in all formats, we have to manage his workload. Saha will come in at some point," Prasad told reporters.

"We have taken India A performances into consideration. In the longer format, KS Bharat was very, very close to get selected. We have an unwritten norm that when an established cricketer is injured, he should get a comeback opportunity. That's what we have given to Saha."

Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal have retained their position in the Test side while M Vijay has been given the axe following poor returns in the test series against Australia. Also missing from the Test squad is Prithvi Shaw who is yet to recover from a hip injury he picked in May at the Mumbai T20 league.

Agarwal and KL Rahul will in all likelihood open the batting with Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane to slot in next. It will be interesting to see whether India opt for Rohit or Hanuma Vihari in the playing eleven.

The pace bowling unit will be led Bumrah with Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to back him up. R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will handle the spin bowling duties.

The two-Test series will get underway on August 22 at North Sound, in Antigua before the teams travel to Kingston, in Jamaica for the second Test on August 30.

West Indies haven't proven to be tough competition for India at least in the Test circuit in the recent past. The last time that India had toured the West Indies was back in the 2016-17 season where they won the four-match Test series 2-0. The most recent test series between these two sides was in 2018 when West Indies toured India for a two-match series. India had clean swept the series quite comfortably.

Test squad: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav

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