The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s senior selection committee on Wednesday announced an 18-member squad for the first three of five Tests against England starting August 1.

The selection panel had some tough decisions to take. India didn’t have the best of England tours last time around and they would have liked to be at full strength for the opening Test but injury and form have forced the hand of the selectors.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has not been picked due to a nagging thumb injury. That opens the door for Rishabh Pant as the second wicketkeeper of the squad. The selectors expectedly called upon the experienced Dinesh Karthik to take over Saha’s position.

The other big name to miss out is Rohit Sharma. The right-hander, who opens the innings for India in the shorter formats, struck two centuries and a fifty in the limited-overs leg of India’s marathon tour but his technique against the moving ball has always been suspect.

It finally looks like the team management and the selectors have decided that the Mumbai batsman is not cut out for Test cricket. Karun Nair, who last played a Test in March 2017, will get a chance to prove his class again.

Karun Nair, who is on tour with the India A squad, has started finding some form. In the first match against West Indies A at Beckenham, he got scores of 20 and 93. He followed it up with knocks of 42 and 55 at Taunton.

Unlike Rohit, Kuldeep Yadav’s show in the shorter formats garnered the support of the skipper. But England played him pretty well in the third ODI – so it remains to be seen whether he will be played in the Tests ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin.

The big worry for India will also be the injuries that have plagued their pace bowling attack. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been included in the squad, will be available for selection only from the second Test onwards based on his fitness.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar also aggravated a lower back condition in the third ODI against England. His condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon.

The Indian fast bowlers had a hugely impressive outing in South Africa and with conditions in the Test matches expected to help the pacers, India will start the series on the back foot.

India’s squad for first three Tests against England: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.

Schedule for the first three Test matches:

Date Match Venue
August 1 1st Test Edgbaston
August 9 2nd Test Lord's
August 18 3rd Test Trent Bridge