Jadeja, Rahul return for India’s final three Tests against England; Kohli unavailable, Iyer not included

New Delhi: Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul have returned to India’s squad for the final three Tests against England. But Virat Kohli will not be available for the remaining matches due to personal reasons while Shreyas Iyer has not been included, said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Kohli had missed the first two Tests due to personal reasons and with him not being available for the next three matches, it marks the first time that the talismanic right-handed batter is missing an entire Test series at home for the first time in his international career.

“Virat Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. The Board fully respects and supports Mr. Kohli’s decision,” said the BCCI in a statement on Saturday.

Though Jadeja and Rahul have been included in the squad, BCCI said their inclusion will be subject to clearance by the medical team. Jadeja had injured his hamstring while batting in the first Test at Hyderabad while Rahul had complained of pain in his right quadriceps after the game ended, which India lost by 28 runs.

On the other hand, Iyer’s exclusion comes after making scores of 35 and 13 in Hyderabad, followed by scoring 27 and 29 in Visakhapatnam, where he struggled to get going. Multiple reports had said Iyer complained of groin and lower back stiffness after the Visakhapatnam Test, which India won by 106 runs.

But the BCCI has not given any reasoning behind Iyer being left out of the Test team. His exclusion means Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan have retained their places in the squad. Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and fast-bowler Avesh Khan also don’t find places in the 17-member India Test squad.

Mohammed Shami remains out of action due to an ankle injury, while his Bengal state-mate, fast bowler Akash Deep, has been handed a maiden call-up to the Test team. Deep was impressive for India A in the recent three-match red-ball series against England Lions, picking 11 wickers at an average of 18.72.

He was part of India’s squad which won the gold medal in the Asian Games at Hangzhou last year, and was later included in the ODI squad for the series in South Africa in December 2023. Overall, Deep has taken 103 wickets in 29 first-class matches so far.

The five-match Test series is finely poised at 1-1, with the third Test to be held in Rajkot, starting on February 15. Both India and England will then travel to Ranchi for the fourth Test beginning on February 23, followed by the final game of the series in Dharamsala on March 7.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar and Akash Deep – IANS

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