After a long gap of more than two years, Hardik Pandya returns to the Indian Test lineup as he has been named in the 18-man squad for the first two Tests against England which begins from February 5 onwards in Chennai.
The squad was named on Tuesday by BCCI's new selection committee headed by former cricketer Chetan Sharma along with four other members - Sunil Joshi, Abey Kuruvilla, Debashish Mohanty and Harvinder Singh who are presently in Brisbane.
Hardik last played a Test match for India in the England tour of 2018. Prolonged back injuries have kept him out of the Test squad with captain Virat Kohli clarifying ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series that he can only be included when he can bowl as well.
The captain too has been included in the lineup after missing out on the last three Tests against Australia owing to paternity leave. Ishant Sharma has also been named after missing the Australia tour owing to BCCI not risking his workload management.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Shami, who injured his forearm in the Adelaide Test, Umesh Yadav, who limped off in the second Test with a calf injury, Hanuma Vihari, who pulled his hamstring in the third Test and Ravindra Jadeja, who fractured his thumb in the SCG Test, continue to recover from their injuries and hence missed the list.
From the Australian squad, T Natarajan, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw has been dropped.
The selectors have also named four stand-byes - KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar and Priyank Panchal - who will be introduced into the squad if the first-choice players incur injuries and miss out on the series. The squad also has five net bowlers as well.
Fast bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur
Spinners: R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel
Standbyes: KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanya Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar
Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar