New Delhi: Karun Nair has been brought into the Test team for the one-off Test against Afghanistan as Virat Kohli will be playing for Surrey to prepare for the upcoming series against England. Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian Test team against Afghanistan in Kohli’s absence. Kohli will also miss the two T20Is against Ireland and Rohit Sharma will lead the side in those two games as the regular skipper will continue his maiden county stint with Surrey till the end of June.The national selection committee met to pick six squads on Tuesday. They picked the Test team against Afghanistan, the squad for the two-match T2OI series against Ireland, three-match T20I series against England, three-match ODI series against England, the India ‘A’ team for the one-day Tri-series against England Lions and West Indies ‘A’ and the India ‘A’ team for the two four-day games against West Indies ‘A’ and one four-day match against England Lions.
Barring Kohli, it will be the regular Test team that will play against Afghanistan as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma will come back from England for the game. The selectors had earlier also picked Iyer as Kohli’s cover during the Dharamsala Test against Australia in 2017.
While it remains to be seen whether Iyer does fit into the middle-order or whether the team management decides to give Rohit Sharma another go in Kohli’s absence. Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Rahane will be certainties in the playing XI and it is the one slot that both Rohit and Iyer will be battling for.
There were also talks that the committee could bring in Yuzvendra Chahal after it came to light that regular skipper Kohli is interested to give the wrist spinner a taste of Test cricket, but at present it is impossible to replace R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja. On form, they look difficult to drop from the longest format.
The ODI team for the England series saw Shreyas Iyer, Ambati Rayudu and Siddarth Kaul come in. Rayudu has had a great IPL series and has been duly rewarded.
The selectors also announced the squads for the limited-overs leg of the UK tour along with the India ‘A’ tour of England, where Test specialists were included for early acclimatisation. For the two-match T20 series, most of the players of the Nidahas Trophy team were retained.
The India ‘A’ tour of England will begin with an ODI tri-series against England Lions (A team) and West Indies A, from June 22. India ‘A’ will play a four-day ‘Test’ against the ‘Lions’ from July 16-19 at Worcester apart from couple of three-day games against county sides.
First Published: May 8, 2018, 5:37 PM IST