Team India selectors named an unchanged 16-member squad, which featured in the one-off Test against Bangladesh, for the first two Tests against Australia. There was a possibility of fast bowler Mohammed Shami being picked having recovered from knee injury. But, he did not find a place. Neither does Rohit Sharma, who is recovering from a thigh injury sustained in October during the New Zealand ODI series. Karun Nair has been retained, and so has Abhinav Mukund, as the reserve opener. The first India-Australia Test begins on February 23 in Pune.
Kuldeep Yadav has been kept in the squad as fourth spinner after Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Offspinner Jayant Yadav, who had an impressive run against England is in the team as the third spinner. Amit Mishra, who missed the Bangladesh Test due to injury, has been left out. India are tipped to go into the series as favourites, having not lost a Test match since August 2015 in Sri Lanka. The team has been undefeated in 19 consecutive Tests.
In contrast, Australia have not won a Test in Asia since August 2011, when they had beaten Sri Lanka in the first Test. They lost 4-0 to India in 2013, 2-0 to Pakistan in the UAE in 2014 and 3-0 to Sri Lanka last in 2016. The four Tests matches will be held in Pune (February 23-27), Bangalore (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).
A two-day practice game between Australia and India A will be played at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium starting February 16.
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma
--By A Cricket Correspondent