Karun back in Test team

Karun back in Test team

Karun Nair

Karun Nair, who fizzled out of the spotlight after his historic triple hundred in 2016, was recalled to the Test squad for the one-off game against Afghanistan while K L Rahul returned to the ODI set-up after a six-month hiatus as the selection committee named as many as five Indian squads here on Tuesday. 

Nair, who struggled in the four-Test series at home against Australia after his memorable 303 against England in Chennai, produced decent performances for India 'A' and Karnataka over two seasons to regain his Test spot. Shreyas Iyer, the front runner for a place in the squad for the June 14-18 Test, was surprisingly ignored. 

In the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane was expectedly named the captain for the Afghanistan Test but Rohit Sharma, who had a torrid time in South Africa last year, was dropped. Kohli's signing with Surrey meant he would miss the Bengaluru Test. 

"Virat is missing out for a good cause. He is going out so that he comes well-prepared for the England Test series. It is always good that he goes there and performs well and he is very keen. He wants to do extremely well in English conditions. It is a great opportunity for us to win the series," said MSK Prasad, chairman of selectors, at a press conference. 

Kohli will be backed to lead India in the two T20Is (June 27 & 29) against Ireland in Dublin. 

IPL form

Rahul's exclusion from the ODIs for the three-match series against New Zealand October last came as a shocker to many but the classy right-hander, with fine consistency in Tests and T20Is, has got the nod from the selectors for the three-match ODI series against England starting from July 12. Rahul's fine run in the IPL, in which he has amassed 376 runs from 10 games so far, also worked in his favour. 

Other gainers from the IPL were Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul, who are in the ODI squad. Rayudu is the current top run-getter with 423 runs while Umesh (14) and Kaul (13) hold the first and third position respectively in the wicket-taking list. Manish Pandey and Rahane are the notable exclusions from the ODI squad. 

Rumours about seniors getting a rest from the Afghanistan Test were quashed as most of the regulars were named in the side barring Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who were rested. Prasad added that some from the senior team would feature in an India 'A' four-day game before joining the Test team for the England tour. 

"We did discuss, we had a meeting with Virat and Ravi (Shastri) and also Rahul (Dravid). Some of the Test specialists like Saha (Wriddhiman), Murali Vijay and (Mohammed) Shami, will join India 'A' for the final four-day game. From there they will play against Essex and continue with the Test team," Prasad said. 

In India 'A' squads, Nair was named the skipper for the four-day format while Shreyas Iyer will be the skipper of the one-day unit for the matches in England.