With India's limited-overs fixtures of their tour of England nearly done and dusted, the national selectors are turning their heads towards the Test series that is set to take place in about two weeks' time, although they will be picking the squad for the first three Tests only when they meet at Leeds.
According to a report on CricketNext, the policy of picking the squad for the first three Tests is mainly due to concerns over player fitness. Jasprit Bumrah is among those players recuperating from injury but likely to feature at some point in the Tests.
"See, this is not a three-game series. In such a case, you ideally pick the squad and then you proceed. But in a long five-match series, you don’t wish to pick the squad at one go. Some of the players who might be sore or have an injury and are progressing well will come into the picture as and when they are fit. Like Bumrah is certain to need time to be fit till the second Test," a source was quoted as saying in the report.
Captain Virat Kohli had recently hinted that the team management might be inclined to try the wrist-spin pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the Test series after their success in the T20Is and the ODIs, which will then effectively push the finger-spin pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out of the team.
The source, however, was speculative about Kohli and company pulling off any surprises come the Test series.
"Some of the young names are surely to be discussed, but it is too early to say who will get the nod and who will not. But performances are bound to be taken into account when the wise men sit down," he said.
First-choice wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha is expected to sit out of the first Test, that takes place at Edgbaston. Saha had injured his finger in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL), and is yet to recover fully from it. Dinesh Karthik, who is currently struggling to get some game time in the blue jersey despite his Nidahas Trophy final and IPL heroics, will then likely replace him as the gloveman.
The selectors also have to ponder over the option of playing Mohammed Shami for the first Test. The Bengal pacer cleared the Yo-Yo Test in his second attempt, having had to miss out on the Afghanistan Test at Bengaluru after failing to pass it on the first occasion. Shami's selection looks all the more likely with Bhuvneshwar Kumar nursing a back problem.
India take on England in the final one-dayer at Headingley on Tuesday, with the series level at 1-1 after England's 86-run win at Lord's. The 'Men in Blue' earlier emerged triumphant in the T20I series by a 2-1 margin, winning the decider at Bristol by seven wickets.