Axar Patel Returns, Dhruv Jurel Earns Maiden Call-up as India Announces Squad for England Tests


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New Delhi: Excitement buzzed as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unveiled the 16-man squad for the opening two Tests against England, starting January 25th in Hyderabad. While familiar faces dominated the list, two names stood out: the returning left-arm spinner Axar Patel and the debutant wicket-keeper batsman Dhruv Jurel.

Captain Rohit Sharma will once again lead the charge, with Jasprit Bumrah providing able support as vice-captain. The batting core remains largely unchanged, with the dependable KL Rahul and the in-form Shreyas Iyer expected to anchor the innings. Rishabh Pant, after a stellar show in South Africa, retains his gloves with the familiar backup of Wriddhiman Saha.

The bowling department underwent a minor shuffle. Experienced seamer Mohammed Shami misses out due to ongoing injury recovery, paving the way for a surprise inclusion – Uttar Pradesh’s Dhruv Jurel. The 24-year-old, known for his aggressive batting and strong wicket-keeping skills, has impressed in domestic circles and earned a well-deserved maiden call-up.

Axar Patel’s return adds a potent spin weapon to India’s arsenal. His impeccable form in South Africa, where he bagged 18 wickets, made him a near-certain pick. Veteran Ravindra Jadeja, another spin powerhouse, completes the spin trio, offering India versatility with both left-arm and right-arm variations.

The pace attack boasts the ever-reliable Jasprit Bumrah, alongside Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma. Avesh Khan, who impressed in South Africa, finds himself back in the mix, while Umesh Yadav, despite a strong Ranji Trophy outing, misses out narrowly.

Head coach Rahul Dravid expressed confidence in the selected squad, stating, “We have picked a balanced team with experience and exciting young talent. Axar’s return strengthens our spin department, and Dhruv Jurel’s inclusion reflects his recent performances. We are looking forward to a competitive series against England.”

The five-match Test series promises to be a thrilling encounter between two cricketing giants. With both teams boasting formidable lineups, the battle for supremacy on Indian soil is set to ignite passion and captivate fans across the globe.

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