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India demolished New Zealand 3-0 at home last month AFP

Moving ahead into their big ‘India Cricket’ season, the hosts have announced their 15-man squad to take on the might of England at home in a five-Test series for the Anthony De Mello Trophy 2016-17. The series against England irrespective of the tourists’ current form will be challenging to the hilt for the Virat Kohli-led Indian team as their poor past record is stacked up against them. India have won only 2 out of 13 Tests against England since 2011, whereas Alastair Cook’s team has 9 wins in their kitty. The Indian team which was was announced for the first two Tests of the five-match series, with the surprise inclusions being Hardik Pandya and Jayant Yadav, who were a part of the ODI side for series against New Zealand. At the same time, Gautam Gambhir and Karun Nair were retained while Ishant Sharma made a comeback into the national side.

Three of India’s key players across formats Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have missed the bus due to injuries. BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke informed that while Dhawan has just recently started batting in the nets, Bhuvneshwar is not completely fit. The first Test will begin from November 9 at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot. The second Test of the series will be played at Visakhapatam, which will be hosting it’s first Test game from November 17, whereas the third Test will be at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali. The fourth match of the series will be Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede Stadium, while fifth and final Test will be played at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England, 1st Test at Rajkot

Hardik and Jayant both made their ODI debuts for India in the recently-concluded series against New Zealand, which the hosts won 3-2. Gambhir, who played the final Test for India against New Zealand at Indore continues to find selector’s favour in absence of Dhawan, whereas Rohit was unlucky to have missed out on the selection. Reports suggest that the Indian batsman could be out for 6-8 weeks, which puts his chances of playing in the England series in serious jeopardy.

Opening batsman KL Rahul, who has scored centuries in Australia, Sri Lanka and in West Indies, continues to be away from the national side due to a hamstring injury which kept him away after the first of the three Tests against New Zealand.

India squad for first 2 Tests against England: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Gautam Gambhir, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Cheteshwar Pujara.