Mumbai prodigy Prithvi Shaw and Andhra all-rounder Hanuma Vihari received their maiden call-up to the Indian test side. The All- India Selection Committee met in Nottingham after the third test to pick the Test squad for the fourth and fifth test against England.
Opener Murali Vijay and leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav faced the axe for the last two tests. Vijay got out for 2 at Lord’s and scored 20 and 6 in the second test at Birmingham. Chinaman Kuldeep made way for the selection of another batsman. The seamer-friendly pitches of England negate the requirement of a third spinner.
Prithvi Shaw, the captain of the U-19 World Cup winning team has been rewarded for his consistent performances in first-class cricket. After a successful World Cup stint, he has been a regular in India A squad. The Mumbai batsman has piled up 1418 runs in 14 first class games with seven centuries with two of those on English soil. His performance in recent India A tour of England would have titled the weight in favour of his inclusion.
Hanuma Vihari, also part of U-19 World Cup winning team in 2012 has been a consistent scorer in the Ranji seasons and in recent India A games. VIhari has an average of 60 in 63 first-class games and 15 centuries. In the recent tour of India A to England, Vihari scored 147 against West Indies A in a four-day test. Prithvi Shaw scored 188 in the same game.
Vihari scored 58 and 148 against South Africa A in the recently concluded two unofficial tests at Bengaluru. Shaw made 163 against the same opposition.
Vihari told the Indian Express that he was presently surprised by the call-up. “I’m not a very emotional person but I did feel a lot of them today. I immediately called my mother and informed her, because I owe a lot to her. It’s only because of the sacrifices she made after I lost my father at a young age that I am here,” he said.
Teenaged Shaw is a direct replacement for Vijay whereas as the middle-order batsman Vihari has been selected as a cover for Virat Kohli. Kohli has had issues with his back, because of which he sat out part of the second test at Birmingham. Indian Express reported that even though Karun Nair is an extra in the squad, the MSK Prasad led selection committee thought it judicious to have another batsman in the squad. Vihari’s inclusion gives the team management more choices to pick from if things go wrong in the fourth test.
India won the third test at Trent Bridge but England lead the series 2 – 1 going into the fourth test in Southampton that begins on August 30. The fifth test will be played at the Oval in London from September 7.
India Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Dhawan, Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Pujara, Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ashwin, Jadeja, Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hanuma Vihari
England Squad: Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes. (James Vince is called back to the Test squad, whereas Jamie Porter has been let go so that he can play for Essex in the first division).