India vs England: Star of Series Down Under, Mohammad Siraj Excluded from First Test Playing XI
Call it rotation of players or a move to go with the senior pros, pacer Mohammad Siraj, who was India’s highest wicket-taker from the Australia series, was left out of the playing XI for the first Test against England. Skipper Virat Kohli and team management went in with a rather strange-looking team, where Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah did make a comeback, and three spinners — R Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar were preferred.
India is playing at home after over a year, and perhaps the team management wanted to go in with more spin power on conducive Chennai wicket. But one can only feel sorry for Siraj, who bowled his heart out in Australia, and was instrumental in team’s success Down Under. On the other hand, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was also overlooked, despite being part of the team. His is another puzzling case, and hasn’t played a Test in two years now.
Earlier, India all-rounder Axar Patel had been ruled out of the first Test against England in Chennai after complaining of pain in his left knee. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, and legspinner Rahul Chahar have been added to India’s squad.
“The all-rounder complained of pain in his left knee during Team India’s optional training session on Thursday. He is being monitored by the BCCI Medical Team and while his detailed reports are awaited, he will not be available for selection for the opening match.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has added spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar to India’s squad. Both Nadeem and Chahar have been training with Team India as part of the standby group of players,” BCCI said in a statement.
Axar was picked in the squad as a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja, who is out with injury. Axar is yet to play a Test for India, and was perhaps in line for a debut in Chennai.
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(w), Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Shahbaz Nadeem