Team India is all set for a long old fashioned England tour. This tour is going to be a big test for India. The team has been announced for the five Tests matches. The tour is starting from July. This is almost a new Team India. It will be the first English tour for many players. BCCI announced 18-man squad for the tour. Zaheer Khan has failed to find a place in the team. India tour of England 2014.
Gautam Gambhir has returned in the squad after 18 months. Rajasthan’s pacer Pankaj Singh also got selected. The touring squad included the top seven that went to New Zealand. They retained the two spinners. Team featured six pacers and one seaming allrounder. They also have Gambhir and Wriddhiman Saha as a reserve wicketkeeper. India tour of England 2014.
The biggest arguing point was the exclusion of Zaheer. He had a series of injury problems in the past. That raised questions over his ability to last a Test series. Though he bowled 107 overs in two Tests against New Zealand this year. Then a back injury forced him to miss most of the IPL. Zaheer’s exclusion is still a mystery. As whether he has been missed out due to the injury or dropped. India tour of England 2014.
The last time India went to England in 2011. Zaheer broke down in the beginning there and never recover. That was a big blow for the team. That was the beginning of India’s dramatic slide. India tour of England 2014.
Gambhir was the other casualty of that England tour. He returned to the Test squad even after a so-so first-class. It may be because of the experienced squad. Only MS Dhoni and Ishant Sharma have played Tests in England. There is no better contender for the back-up openers’ slot. India tour of England 2014.
Pankaj has been rewarded for his several successful domestic seasons. He took 39 wickets at 22.46 in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy. He had been an integral part of Rajasthan Team. He helped the team to win successive Ranji titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12. His absence from the national squad has created chaos several times. If Pankaj gets to play a Test, he will create a record. He will become India’s bowler with most first-class wickets before Test debut, 300. Previous record was of R Vinay Kumar’s 241. India tour of England 2014.
Exclusion of Umesh Yadav came as a shock. How and why Ishant Sharma keeps getting selected for the Test team. Umesh Yadav would have been a great replacement instead of Ishant. He would have been a great asset for the team with his pace. But we should look for the brighter side. It can be a blessing in disguise for him. He may be get selected for India A’s tour of Australia. There will be 2 unofficial tests and 6 ODIs of Australia A vs India A in July. It would be good for Umesh Yadav. He will get the experience in Australia before the World Cup 2015. India tour of England 2014.
This time Team India appears a balanced side. Team has decent depth in pace department. Batting lineup is strong as always. The six pacers will be joined by allrounder Stuart Binny. Gambhir will be the back-up opening batsman in the squad. Saha would be a second-choice wicketkeeper. India tour of England 2014.
India will play a five-Test series after 12 years. The last was against West Indies in 2002. India has not won a Test abroad in three years. They have lost away series to South Africa and New Zealand in the past six months. That caused them to slide to No. 5 in the ICC Test ranking. India tour of England 2014.
Indian Test Squad for England.
MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Pankaj Singh. India tour of England 2014.
Probable Playing XI.
Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Stuart Binny, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey. India tour of England 2014.