India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is likely to miss the first part of the five-match England Test series, starting on August 1. ESPNcricinfo understands that Bumrah has still not recovered from the thumb injury he suffered during India’s first match of the UK tour, their opening T20 against Ireland last month.
Bumrah is likely to be left out of the Test squad, which will be released by the BCCI on Wednesday. It is is understood the selectors have opted to include the left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, who made such an impact in the T20 and ODIs against England, and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who gets a maiden Test call. Also making a comeback is Indian strike bowler Mohammed Shami, who had to sit out the majority of the IPL due to a hamstring injury.
Shami was originally meant to be in the reckoning for the limited-overs squads in England, but he failed the mandatory yo-yo fitness test, which he eventually cleared recently. Shami is likely to be part of a fast-bowling contingent comprising Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. The allrounder Hardik Pandya is also included among the seam-bowling options.
Kuldeep, who was India’s highest wicket-taker in the limited-overs leg of the England tour, will be part of a three-man spin pack comprising R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
But it is the inclusion of Pant which a significant move on the part of the selectors. With Wriddhiman Saha still recovering from a thumb injury picked up in the IPL, Dinesh Karthik is the first-choice wicketkeeper. Pant, who has played in four T20Is, might come as a surprise pick considering experts have pointed out his wicketkeeping skills aren’t yet of the highest quality.
Pant is currently in the UK playing for India A against the Lions in Worcester. He has 15 dismissals on the A tour.
Talking at the post-match presentation after losing the ODI series 2-1 in Leeds, India captain Virat Kohli said that he and the selectors did not need to take any hard decisions.
“Our squad is pretty settled. We are really excited to be going into a lengthy Test series. It is going to be very challenging, but something that we are looking forward to as a side. We want to play hard cricket. We want to play tough cricket, which I’m sure the English team would provide us. It is going to be a hard-fought series between two quality sides.”The selectors are also understood to have overlooked Rohit Sharma, who scored two centuries in the limited-overs leg of the England series. Rohit was in contention for the middle-order role, but a patchy series in South Africa left the selectors and team management unsatisfied. Rohit was dropped from the one-off Afghanistan Test in June. Karun Nair is likely to be handed the extra batsman slot.