India squad for next 3 Tests soon: No Virat Kohli; latest update on Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Siraj

India’s squad for the remaining three Tests against England will be announced soon. Virat Kohli is unlikely to feature but there is good news on Rahul, Jadeja..

Indian captain Rohit Sharma with teammates KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli during a group photograph(PTI)

The BCCI senior men’s selection committee led by former pacer Ajit Agarkar will meet on Thursday (virtually) to finalise the India squad for the remaining three Tests against England. Captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid are also likely to be present in the selection meeting. Rohit, notably, had a lengthy discussion with Agarkar almost immediately after India beat England in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. The selection meeting won’t be a straightforward one by any means. There are many questions to be answered but none bigger than the availability of Virat Kohli.

Kohli, who missed the first two Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam will not be available for the third and fourth Tests and is also doubtful for the fifth and final Test in Dharamsala, reported ESPNCricinfo. The former captain has reportedly informed Rohit and the selectors about his decision. But expecting the series to go down the wire, the selectors may wait for Kohli’s decision on the final Test and announce the squad only for the third and fourth Tests in Rajkot and Ranchi.

Another big player who is unlikely to play any part in the series is pacer Mohammed Shami. The veteran fast bowler is yet to recover fully from the ankle injury he suffered during the ODI World Cup.

There is, however, good news for India elsewhere. KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja who missed the second Test due to injuries are likely to be included in the squad for the next two Tests. Rahul was out with a quadriceps injury while Jadeja hurt his hamstring while attempting a run in the series opener. Both of them are currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. The NCA doctors haven’t submitted their final report to BCCI but both Rahul and Jadeja are reportedly recovering well and with the third Test in Rajkot still a week away, the selectors are optimistic about their return.

Siraj set to return; Bumrah won’t be rested from third Test

Pacer Mohammed Siraj, who was released from the squad for the second Test, is also confirmed to return to the squad to share the workload with Jasprit Bumrah. The Indian team management is reluctant to play four spinners and hence, Siraj is almost certain to straightaway come into the XI in Rajkot in place of Mukesh Kumar, who struggled with his line and length in the previous Test.

A few media reports were suggesting that Bumrah might be rested for the third Test but the newly-crowned No.1-ranked Test bowler is set to feature in Rajkot. Bumrah has been the leader of India’s bowling attack and the team management doesn’t want to rest him at this crucial stage. Besides, the 9-day gap between the second and third Tests is believed to be enough to manage Bumrah’s workload. However, if India win the third Test then chances are high that Bumrah will be rested from the fourth one in Ranchi as there is very little gap between them.

The five-match series is currently locked at 1-1. The third Test match is ever-so crucial as a victory in that match would hold the team in an advantageous position.

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