When India’s senior selection committee announced the squad for the first three Tests against England on Wednesday (July 18), there was one notable omission in the list. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who averages 26.63 in red-ball cricket on English soil, was left out from the 18-member squad after he aggravated his back problem by playing in the series-deciding third ODI at Leeds on Tuesday (July 17).
As per the reports in ESPNCricinfo, Bhuvneshwar will undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and then BCCI’s medical team will take a call on his fitness.
Bhuvi's injury is a huge blow for India given that Jasprit Bumrah is still to recover from the thumb injury. Although Bumrah has been picked in the Test squad, he will only be considered for selection from the second Test onwards.
"His [Bhuvneshwar's] condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the test squad will be made soon," BCCI said in a statement.
"Jasprit Bumrah, who has been included in the squad, will be available for selection from the second Test onwards based on his fitness," the statement added.
With both Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah being ruled out of the first Test, the trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami will have to carry the additional responsibility. Meanwhile, the Indian selectors have surprised everyone by naming young Rishabh Pant in the Test squad. The 20-year-old Rishabh has been selected as a backup option to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
The highly-anticipated Test series between India and England will commence on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Lord’s will host the second Test while Trent Bridge, Rose Bowl and The Oval will stage the third, fourth and fifth Test respectively.
India squad for first three Tests against England:
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.
Aug 01 - Aug 05, 1st Test – Edgbaston, Birmingham
Aug 09 - Aug 13, 2nd Test – Lord's, London
Aug 18 - Aug 22, 3rd Test – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Aug 30 - Sep 03, 4th Test – The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Sep 07 - Sep 11, 5th Test – Kennington Oval, London