Captain Virat Kohli is set to return after a paternity leave with BCCI selection committee set to meet today to pick the squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match series against England at home starting February 5. Kohli played in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy following which he returned home for the birth of his first child.

Also making his return to the Test arena will be veteran pacer Ishant Sharma who missed out the Australia tour due to an abdomen issue. He recently made his competitive return for Delhi in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy proving himself to be in a decent rhythm despite being out of action for almost a year now.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin are also fit for selection with the duo missing out the fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane due to fitness issues. However, the likes of Mohammed Shami (forearm fracture), Ravindra Jadeja (fractured thumb), Hanuma Vihari (grade 2 muscle tear) and Umesh Yadav (calf injury) will not be available for selection.

India’s impressive tour of Australia was marred by injuries to several first-choice players, but their backups proved themselves and will in all likeliness keep their places. Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur are expected to be part of the 18-man squad.

However, there’s doubt over Navdeep Saini who has been struggling with groin issue.

Shubman Gill has climbed up the ladder with his superb initiation into Test cricket and will be the first-choice opener alongside Rohit Sharma with Mayank Agarwal making the cut as the reserve opener.

Prithvi Shaw struggled in the first two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne and is expected to be dropped.

The entire India squad will enter into the bio-bubble by January 27 with the first two Tests to be played in Chennai.

India’s Likely Squad: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal (reserve), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kuldeep Yadav.