Cheteshwar Pujara has returned to India’s squad for the postponed fifth Test against England at Edgbaston from July 1-5. The Test will also determine the result of the five-match series, with India currently leading 2-1, following its victories at Lord’s and The Kia Oval.
Pujara’s Test recall comes close on the heels of a highly rewarding County season with Sussex, where he averaged 120 with four centuries in eight innings. This was Pujara’s fourth county stint, following spells at Derbyshire (2014), Yorkshire (2015 and 2018), Nottinghamshire (2017).
Though he signed a deal with Gloucestershire in 2020, he was unable to fulfil his deal after the first seven rounds were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, playing the Ranji Trophy after two years, Pujara scored 191 runs in five innings, including two fifties, for Saurashtra.
The veteran batter has been suffering a lean patch of late. While his last international century came against Australia in January 2019 in Sydney, he managed just 124 runs in six innings in his most recent Test series against South Africa with an average of 20.66.
His poor form led to his exclusion from India’s Test squad for the Sri Lanka series. He has been averaging 26.29 since the beginning of 2020 in the longest format.
Rahane ruled out
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane will be out of action for two months after hurting his hamstring in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last week. Rahane thus has been ruled out of India’s lone Test in England in July and the Ranji Trophy knockouts in June.
Rahane had a mixed campaign with the willow in the Ranji Trophy league stage in February-March. He tallied 185 runs in four innings, which included a hundred, a fifty and two ducks.
In the IPL, Rahane was far from his best. He scored 133 runs in seven innings, at an average of 19 and strike rate of 103.90.
Prasidh Krishna called-up
Rohit Sharma, rested for the South Africa T20I series, will return to lead the Test team in England. KL Rahul, who will captain the T20I side against the Proteas in Rohit’s absence, will be his deputy for the postponed fifth Test.
KS Bharat will be the reserve wicketkeeper while Rishabh Pant will continue donning the gloves for the national team.
On the back of an impressive ODI series against West Indies earlier this year, where he picked nine wickets in three matches, Prasidh Krishna was drafted into the squad. The Karnataka pacer has continued his rich vein of form in IPL 2022 for Rajasthan Royals with 15 wickets in 14 matches.
|Test Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.|