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Update India leave out Hardik, Shaw for WTC Final, England Tests

India have left out Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Kuldeep Yadav from their squad for their World Test Championship final against New Zealand as well as the five-Test tour of England that follows. Hardik, whose workload has been constantly managed since a back injury in 2018, nursed a shoulder niggle during the IPL 2021 that kept him off any bowling duties in the seven games for Mumbai Indians. The all-rounder last played a Test on the previous tour of England in 2018.

Ravindra Jadeja, one of the several players who suffered injuries during India's tour Down Under last year, has made a comeback, but his replacement in the home Tests against England - Axar Patel - has retained his spot based on his exceptional performances. Also back is Hanuma Vihari who missed the home Tests against England after tearing his hamstring in the famous SCG draw.

The squad has three fit opening options in Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. Prithvi Shaw was in the scheme of things at the top of the order in Tests in Australia, but lost his spot following twin failures in the Day-Night Adelaide Test.

Shaw returned home, tweaked his technique that came into question in both his dismissals in that game and then enjoyed an unparalleled season for Mumbai in the side's Vijay Hazare trophy triumph. Shaw also made head-turning performances for Delhi Capitals in the IPL, but seems to have fallen down the pecking order in Tests as the selectors went with KL Rahul as the fourth opening choice, even as his selection is subject to fitness clearance as he recently underwent surgery for acute appendicitis.

Kuldeep, who was once touted as India's No.1 overseas spinner, has lost his Test spot after having spent the entire Australia tour on the bench, and then getting just one outing in the home Tests against England.

In the fast bowling department, India have the services of Mohammed Shami again, who returned to action in the recently-suspended IPL after a lengthy layoff since fracturing his arm in the Adelaide Test. He completes the six-man pace battery which includes Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj. Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn't made the cut and is yet to play a Test match since winning the Man of the Match award in Johannesburg in 2018.

After the WTC final in Southampton, the Indian squad will head to Nottingham for the first Test against England from August 4. They then play the second Test at Lord's from August 12; travel up north to Leeds for the third Test from August 25, before returning to London for the fourth Test at the Oval from September 2. The fifth game of the rubber will take place in Manchester from September 10.

Uncertainty around departure date

The BCCI is now waiting to hear from the International Cricket Council (ICC) before it decides on the date of travel to England. Normally the ICC makes the arrangements for the teams' travel for a global event. The immediate information is that the team could leave on June 2, as was previously decided, but with no word from Dubai as yet, the departure of the squad, including the four standby players, may go up to June 5.

"There is a lot of uncertainty. We don't know how many days of quarantine we will have to undergo. If the IPL had continued, the players would not have had to go into isolation. Now it is required for them too as all of them have exited the bubbles. We are hoping that it would be by a charter flight but there is no word yet from the ICC. With the governments involved, there is no word on quarantine either," a source in direct knowledge of the developments told Cricbuzz on Friday.

Meanwhile, there is also a plan to take the women's squad along with Virat Kohli & Co but the BCCI is yet to decide on the date of the team selection. As of Friday, the women selectors were still waiting to hear from the board to pick the squads. The women's team is scheduled to play one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is from June 15.

Squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla


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