Kuldeep looks a certainty for Tests

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s fitness is the only issue facing the National selectors ahead of the Test series against England.

In case of Saha failing to recover from the thumb injury, Parthiv Patel would be added to the squad since the selectors insist on a reserve wicketkeeper given the long tour where India plays five Tests.

Parthiv and Dinesh Karthik will be the two wicketkeepers with the latter having figured in the Test against Afghanistan at Bengaluru in June. Karthik had returned to Tests after a gap of eight years.

Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav looks to be a certainty following his outstanding hold over the English batsmen, who have found him hard to read.

England’s batting line-up has been mesmerised by Kuldeep who mixes his wares in an intriguing manner. R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja complete the spinners’ quota even though skipper Virat Kohli has shown interest in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

The rest of the squad picks itself with a healthy competition for places.

M. Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara form the cream of the batting with support from Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair, apart from the wicketkeeper.

The selectors are also pleased by the performance of Hardik Pandya, who comes in handy with his positive and attacking batsmanship. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami would fit in as fast bowlers. Shami has submitted his fitness at the National Cricket Academy and is said to be raring to go.

The likely squad:

Virat Kohli (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, M. Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Wriddhiman Saha or Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.

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