BCCI names squad for Lanka tour; Veterans sided again

RSTV Bureau
BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur, Indian Test Captain Virat Kohli, Selection Committee Chairman Sandeep Patil and other members during the committee's meeting  to select Indian squad for upcoming Sri Lanka tour in New Delhi on Thursday .( Photo PTI )

BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur, Indian Test Captain Virat Kohli, Selection Committee Chairman Sandeep Patil and other members during the committee’s meeting to select Indian squad for upcoming Sri Lanka tour in New Delhi on Thursday . ( Photo PTI )

The BCCI has announced the 15-member strong squad for Sri Lanka tour starting early next month. Team India is scheduled to play 3 test series in the island country beginning 12th August. Leg spinner Amit Mishra has staged a comeback into the national Test side after a gap of four years while veteran Harbhajan Singh too has retained his place in the 15-member squad.

The 15-man squad will be led by Virat Kohli. The selection committee, headed by Sandeep Patil, picked the squad on Thursday.

“Amit Mishra was always in the scheme of things. Last year also he was in reserves. The final XI though is decided by the captain. Looking at the conditions, we have picked him for this tour,” Chief selector Sandeep Patil said at a press conference.

The talking point of the selections was non-selection of the veterans such as Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Pragyan Ojha. Ravindra Jadeja, who has not been in good form of late, was again left out from the Test squad.

“Pragyan was discussed but only 15 players can be selected. Looking at the conditions we have given preference to Mishra,” Patil said spelling out the reasons for leaving out off-spinner Pragyan Ojha.

Besides, Chief selector Patil also said that pacers Karn Sharma and Mohammed Shami have still not recovered from their respective injury which is why “their names were not discussed”. Both the pacers had an impressive outing in Australia tour early this year, including the ICC World Cup.

“We always try to get the balance right. This is the best combination for the Sri Lanka tour,” Patil added.

The selectors opted for a three specialist spinners in R Ashwin, Harbhajan and Mishra while Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron completes the list with four pacers.

While Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay will be the openers, the middle order will be manned by Captain Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.

Wriddhiman Saha will be the lone wicket-keeper in the squad, which will play a three-Test series.

“Saha is the right option at this stage. It is not easy to replace (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. Looking at his capability with batting, he should strike a balance,” Patil said.

(With inputs from the PTI)