India have named an unchanged 16-man squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming series against Australia, starting February 23 in Pune. There was no press conference or an explanation in the BCCI press release, but it can be assumed that batsman Rohit Sharma, fast bowler Mohammed Shami and legspinner Amit Mishra had not recovered from their injuries.
The three national selectors met in Mumbai a day after India won the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad, and the recovery of the injured players would have been the only reason to change a winning combination. Shami is considered to be India's best pace bowler and an expert at reverse swing. He had injured his knee during the England Test series.
Karun Nair, who scored a triple-century in the Chennai Test against England, is available as a middle-order back-up, the spot Rohit vacated when he injured his thigh during the ODI series against New Zealand. Rohit had to undergo surgery in England and only resumed training last week.
Mishra was named as the fourth spinner in the squad for the Bangladesh Test, behind R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav. However, he injured his knee while diving on the bumpy Bangalore outfield during the final T20I against England. Kuldeep Yadav, the Uttar Pradesh left-arm wristspinner who was brought in as a replacement, retained his place in the squad.
Kuldeep, who was named in the India A squad to play the tour game against the Australians, is likely to be withdrawn from the fixture, which starts from February 17. Allrounder Hardik Pandya, another member of this Test squad, is captain of India A and is expected to play.
Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav