Jadeja returns; Bumrah, Pant out for Australian series

NEW DEHLI (AP) — India has selected a 17-man squad for the first two tests of a four-match series against Australia starting next month, with allrounder Ravindra Jadeja returning, but the hosts will be without fast bowling ace Jasprit Bumrah and star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant.

Jadeja, with 60 tests, hasn’t played any cricket since August after undergoing knee surgery and will be a welcome return for the hosts for the first test of the Border-Gavaskar series at Nagpur starting Feb. 9.

Bumrah — who has taken 32 wickets in his seven tests against Australia — has not yet recovered from a back injury and will undergo another month’s rehabilitation before being considered for selection for the final two Tests in Dharamsala and Ahmedabad in March.

Also missing from the hosts squad is Pant, who is still in hospital after suffering multiple injuries in a serious car crash on Dec. 30.

Pant, with 2,271 runs in 33 tests, underwent surgery on Jan. 6 to repair a torn knee ligament and suffered further injuries to his head, back and leg, and is expected to remain in hospital for another week.

The absence of Bumrah and Pant has opened the door for white-ball star Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan to potentially make their maiden test appearances.

Rohit Sharma is captain and leads a formidable batting lineup featuring Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and Shreyas Iyer.

Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will spearhead India’s pace attack, with 36-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav the spin bowling options.

Australia announced its squad on Wednesday which is unsurprisingly spin-heavy for sub-continent pitch conditions.

Uncapped Todd Murphy was one of four spin bowlers named alongside fellow spinners Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson.


India squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat, Ishan Kishan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.


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