Batsmen Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari have been called up to India's Test squad for the final two matches in England. Opening batsman M Vijay, who was out for a pair at Lord's and then dropped from the XI at Trent Bridge, and left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, whose selection in the second Test had raised eyebrows, have been dropped.
It is understood that Vijay's poor form - six single-digit scores in his last 11 innings - has prompted the team management to think about grooming a younger opener. At 34, Vijay's international future now looks uncertain.
Kuldeep has been sent back home to play for the India A team in two four-day matches against Australia A in Visakhapatnam. The decision is believed to be made because of the conditions in England, where one spinner in the XI has usually sufficed. India coach Ravi Shastri told the media at the end of the Trent Bridge Test that offspinner R Ashwin, who was suffering from a hip injury, would be fit in time for the next Test in Southampton starting August 30. There is also left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in the squad.
"Ashwin will be okay," Shastri said. "The fact that he bowled 20-25 overs clearly suggests it [the hip injury] is not that bad. This break will be ideal for him. If there was a Test match starting in three days' time, then it would have been a problem."
The 18-year old Shaw captained India to the Under-19 World Cup title in February and has since been part of India's A teams. He also has an IPL contract with Delhi Daredevils. Vihari, meanwhile, has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket, and the 24-year old averages 59.79 from 63 first-class matches. No one currently playing first-class cricket has a has a better average.
Both men are in good form as well, having each struck centuries against South Africa A in Bengaluru at the start of August. They were also part of the A team in England last month, when Shaw was especially effective as an opening batsman, scoring 188 in a four-day game against West Indies A. That is his highest score - he has seven centuries in all - in 14 first-class games since making his debut for Mumbai in January 2017. Vihari began his career with Hyderabad but has now moved to Andhra, a team he now captains. Among his 5142 runs are 15 hundreds and 24 fifties, including a highest score of 302 not out.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was ruled out of the first three Tests with a lower-back issue, was absent from this squad as well. Having aggravated the injury while playing the third ODI against England in July, he has been undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. BCCI's release announcing the squad did not contain any updates on the fast bowler's fitness.
India squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hanuma Vihari
India A squad for four-day matches against Australia A: Shreyas Iyer (capt), Mayank Agarwal, R Samarth, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Ankit Bawne, Shubman Gill, KS Bharat (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Kuldeep Yadav, K Gowtham, Rajneesh Gurbani, Navdeep Saini, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammed Siraj