India Squad selected for first two England Series Cricket

All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been named in the Indian squad for the first two Tests as the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the 15-member squad for the series at home against England.

Gautam Gambhir retained his spot in the squad after KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan failed to recover from their injuries. Karun Nair has retained in the Test squad in the absence of Rohit Sharma, who suffered a hamstring injury during the ODI series against New Zealand.

India are currently ranked No.1 in the world after thrashing New Zealand 3-0 at home last month. This series though is expected to be a stiffer test for the home side after England beat them 2-1 in 2012 on their previous tour. The visitors will head into the first Test on November 9 in Rajkot without playing any warm-up matches after having played a two-match series in Bangladesh recently which ended 1-1. Following the first Test, the teams are scheduled to play four more matches in Visakhapatnam, Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai.

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Virat Kohli has enjoyed tremendous success as a batsman and captain in Tests. He has led India to four consecutive series wins, two away in Sri Lanka and West Indies and two at home against South Africa and New Zealand. He is also the first India captain to score two double centuries.

With India winning 10 out of their last 14 Tests, including a 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand, Kohli’s focus will now turn towards England in the upcoming five-Test series, starting on November 9 in Rajkot.

For all of Kohli’s success on the international stage, he has failed to get on top of England. The time is perfect to set his poor record against them right.

Kohli has made a name by scoring in Australia and South Africa. His performances against them in home and away conditions make him one of the top players of the modern era.

However, his record against England is poor. In five Tests, he has scored just 134 runs at an average of 13.4; and a highest of 39 during the third Test of the 2014 series in Southampton. When it comes to home comforts, once again, Kohli does not have a good record against England.

His 188 runs are boosted by the 103 he smashed in the fourth and final Test at Nagpur in the 2012 series. If one takes that knock out, his average falls to a poor 17.

England low on confidence

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Heading into the five-Test series, the time is perfect for Kohli to turn his poor record around. With Anderson sidelined for at least the first Test and potentially for a longer time, and with the absence of top-quality spinners like Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, who gave England a famous series win in the 2012-13 series, Kohli will be relishing the challenge.

With England suffering a humiliating loss in the second Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur, the build-up has been far from ideal. With R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in fine form during the New Zealand series, Kohli’s eagerness to perform well against England could be the catalyst for former England skipper Michael Vaughan’s fears of a 5-0 whitewash.

Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Gautam Gambhir, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav

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