New Delhi, Feb. 14 (ANI): Middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who has been away from cricket since October due to injury, has not been picked up for the first two Tests of the four-match series against Australia beginning February 23 at Pune.
Rohit was not a part of India’s Test, ODI and T20 triumphs against England, having undergone a thigh surgery in London after suffering an injury in the final ODI against New Zealand last year.
The 29-year-old displayed an imperious form during the three-Test series against New Zealand that preceded the ODIs, amassing 238 runs at 79.3 batting at No.6.
He was also not included in the team for the lone Test against Bangladesh which India won by 208 runs.
The batting department of the No. 1 Test side will once again see openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair. Wriddhiman Saha, who scored century against Bangladesh, is the only wicket-keeper in the squad.
The pace bowling department consists of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. India spin department will once again be led by Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. All-rounder Jayant Yadav and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav are the other spinning options.
Kuldeep was called in as a replacement for injured Amit Mishra for the Bangladesh Test.
Australia are touring India for a full Test series for the first time since they were whitewashed 0-4 by the hosts in the 2012-13 season.
Australia later defeated India 2-0 in a four-Test rubber played Down Under in the 2014-15 season.
Australia, which sit at the second spot in the ICC Test Rankings following a 3-0 whitewash in their home series against Pakistan, will face a herculean task against India.
Australia have never won a Test match in India since 2004 and their last series win in Asia came against Sri Lanka in 2011.
They have since suffered nine straight Test losses in the subcontinent.
SQUAD: Virat Kohli (Captain), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, W Saha (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund and Hardik Pandya.
The first Test in Pune (February 23-27) would be followed by games in Bengaluru (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).