The Indian team led by Virat Kohli hit the nets in Durham on Tuesday ahead of the five-match Test series against England. The first match of the series will begin on August 4 in Nottingham. With only a few days left before the series opener, the Indian batting order does not want to leave anything to chance to challenge the hosts. A welcome addition to the contingent was wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who has recovered from Covid-19. He showed great signs and hence, is all but certain to play in the first Test match against England.
Apart from Pant, bowling coach B Arun, Wriddhiman Saha and Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran also joined the India squad in Durham. The Indian team has already been jolted with a slew of injuries as opening batsman Shubman Gill, fast bowler Avesh Khan and off-spinner Washington Sundar have been ruled out of the series. The BCCI named Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav as the replacements.
Last week, India played a three-day practice match against County Select XI. In the practice match, KL Rahul gave a glimpse of his form with a sparkling century and he could partner Rohit Sharma as an opener in the first Test. Mayank Agarwal is also in the squad as the reserve opener.
Along with Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja played an impactful knock while Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj left an impression with their bowling in the practice match.
Pant had to undergo a 10-day isolation period before joining the squad. After arriving in England, Pant wrote on Twitter, “Making new friends here in England. Thank you, everyone, for your love and support, I’m back and can’t wait to return to the pitch.”
Making new friends here in England ☺️Thank you everyone for your love and support, I'm back and can't wait to return to the pitch #RP17 pic.twitter.com/UPgc2kYZeZ— Rishabh Pant (@RishabhPant17) July 25, 2021
Meanwhile, Krunal Pandya who is on a tour of Lanka with the ODI squad has also tested positive for coronavirus. This led to the second T20 international betwee India and Sri Lanka to be postponed by a day. The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday. Krunal will now miss the entire series because he has to undergo a period of isolation.