Rohit, Rahul return for Sri Lanka Tests; Nair dropped

Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma shapes up to sweep a delivery on the third day of the second cricket test match against New Zealand in Kolkata, India, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

The Indian selectors, on Sunday (July 9), brought back Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul for the Test tour of Sri Lanka that starts later this month.

Rohit, whose last Test was against New Zealand in October last year, didn’t feature in the Tests against England, Bangladesh and Australia during the home season. He underwent surgery after injuring his thigh during the One-Day International series against New Zealand and had not played competitive cricket for four months. He hasn’t played a First-Class game since his recovery but took part in the Indian Premier League and made a comeback into the national side for the Champions Trophy, ending with more than 300 runs in the tournament. The selectors rested the Mumbai batsman for the West Indies tour in order to keep him fresh.

KL Rahul, who had a run of six fifties in seven innings in the Australia series, is also back in the India set-up having recuperated from the injury that ruled him out of the Indian Premier League, the Champions Trophy and the ongoing West Indies series. He will slot in at the top of the order beside Murali Vijay.

Karun Nair, who became just the second Indian batsman in Tests to register a triple century during the England series, has been dropped from the squad. Nair hasn’t been amongst the runs since his epic knock in Chennai last year and was chosen as the skipper of India A for the series in South Africa. Jayant Yadav, who was present in the Indian squad for the Australian series, has also been dropped. The offspinner will also be on the flight to South Africa with the A squad. Shreyas Iyer, who was called in as a backup for skipper Virat Kohli for the final Test against Australia, doesn’t feature in the strong 16-man contingent.

Allrounder Hardik Pandya, who was left out for the final two Tests against Australia with a shoulder injury, is back in the squad, and so is Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund.

A three-man strong spin attack has been chosen for the helpful conditions in Sri Lanka, with Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav finding a slot alongside Ravis, Ashwin and Jadeja. The fast bowling line-up retains the same look with Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma named alongside Mohammed Shami.

India will start their tour on July 26 in Galle before playing the next two Tests in Colombo and Kandy. The three-match series will be followed by five ODIs and one T20 International.

Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.