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Gambhir, Pankaj Singh in 18-man squad for England Tests

Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ambati Rayudu left out for India’s tour starting July
Gautam Gambhir and Pankaj Singh, the right-arm medium pacer, earned a recall to the India Test side, as the selectors on Wednesday (May 28) named an 18-man squad for the tour of England starting in June.

The selectors, however, chose to ignore Zaheer Khan who, along with Umesh Yadav and Ambati Rayudu, is missing from the side that toured New Zealand in January this year, which was India’s last Test assignment.

Gambhir last played in a Test match against England in Kolkata in 2012, before a string of sub-par performances led to him being dropped, while Pankaj was part of the India team led by Anil Kumble that travelled to Australia in 2007-08, although he did not play in a single game.

But for the inclusion of Gambhir, the batting remained more or less similar to the team that toured New Zealand. With Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay continuing to form the opening tandem, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Ajinkya Rahane form the crux of the middle order.

Stuart Binny makes his international Test debut, as he joins Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin as the all-rounders. Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron, and Pankaj form the pace bowling attack of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led outfit, while Wriddhiman Saha has been named as the second wicket-keeper.

This is a relatively inexperienced squad, with just Gambhir, Ishant and Dhoni previously having played Test cricket in England.   

India plays five Test matches in England, with the first Test starting in Trent Bridge on July 9.

Squad: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhiman Saha, Pankaj Singh.

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