Kohli returns to India squad for England test series


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Twenty20 International - Australia v India - Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia - December 8, 2020 India's Virat Kohli REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) - India's regular skipper Virat Kohli will return to the team for next month's four-test series against England after the country's cricket board (BCCI) named the squad for the first two matches in Chennai.

Kohli had returned to India to attend the birth of his daughter after the first test loss to Australia, leaving behind a deflated side who were skittled out for 36 in Adelaide - their lowest innings score in 88 years of test cricket.

Under stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, India levelled the series in Melbourne and drew in Sydney before winning in Brisbane to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy on Tuesday.

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who missed the Australia tour with a side strain, is also back in the squad to face England.

Batsman KL Rahul, who suffered a wrist injury and did not play in Australia, also returns to the squad alongside all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and paceman Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the series decider in Brisbane due to injuries, are also included in the 18-man squad.

Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, who were injured on the Australia tour, have all been left out for the first two matches, while opener Prithvi Shaw is dropped.

The first test is scheduled for Feb. 5-9 followed by the second from Feb. 13-17, with both games to be played in Chennai.

The third and fourth tests will be in Ahmedabad.

Squad:

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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