The England and Wales Cricket Board on Thursday announced a 16-member squad for the first two Test matches against India. The four-match Test series will commence from February 5 with the first two Tests to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Senior players Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer have been called back by the ECB for the crucial tour of India, which will be part of the World Test Championship.

Both Stokes and Archer were rested for the ongoing two-match Test series in Sri Lanka. Opening batsman Rory Burns, who was at home for the birth of his child, also got his place back in the squad.

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The team will continue to be led by Joe Root.

Young batting sensation Ollie Pope has also been included to the 16-member squad but he will be added after passing the fitness Test. Pope sustained a shoulder injury during the Test series against Pakistan in September as he has still been recovering from it.

The national selectors have provided rest to Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood. The three players, who are currently in Sri Lanka, will miss the first and second Tests in India.

“This is consistent with the selection policy of finding a block of rest for all multi-format players at some point during post-Christmas winter schedule,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a release.

With Archer and Stokes returning, and subject to fitness of the rest of the squad, Somerset’s Craig Overton will return home after the Sri Lanka series.

Squad for first two Tests: Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

Reserves: James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Amar Virdi (Surrey).