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Ishant, Pandya in India squad for 1st & 2nd Tests against England (Ld)

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) Experienced fast bowler Ishant Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have been included in India’s 18-member squad for their first two Tests against England, starting on February 5 in Chennai.

The squad was picked in a meeting that the Indian selection committee led by Chetan Sharma held on Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.

Ishant had been ruled out of India’s Test series in Australia, which concluded on Tuesday, as he was recovering from a side strain. Pandya, meanwhile, played in the ODI and T20I series in Australia. He last played a Test match in September 2018 against England in Southampton.

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Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, who were instrumental in India’s historic win over Australia at the Gabba with bat and ball, have been included in the squad. Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj also finds a place while T Natarajan, who also played in the Gabba Test, misses out. Opener Prithvi Shaw, who was replaced by Gill after the first Test in the Australia series, has also been excluded from the squad while spinner Axar Patel finds a place.

KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar have been announced as standbys. Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowthan and Saurabh Kumar have been announced as net bowlers.

Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.

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Standbys: KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar

Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar

–IANS

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