Leg-spinner Mishra recalled to Indian Test squad

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Seasoned leg-spinner Amit Mishra on Thursday was recalled to the Indian cricket team for the three-Test away series against Sri Lanka next month.

The 32-year-old Haryana tweaker replaced young leg-spinner Karn Sharma in the 15-member team that was picked by the Sandeep Patil-led Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) All-India Senior Selection Committee which met here.

Railways’ Karn was in the team that travelled to Bangladesh last month. Mishra’s inclusion was the lone change in the team.

Mishra last played a Test match for India during the 2011 tour of England, playing two games and claiming three wickets. He picked up 10 wickets from six games in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season and claimed nine wickets from 12 games in the 2015 Indian Premier League.

“Amit Mishra was always in the scheme of things. Last year also he was in the reserves. The final XI, though, is decided by the captain. Looking at the conditions, we have picked him for this tour,” Patil told reporters after the selection of the team.

“Pragyan (Ojha) was discussed but only 15 players can be selected. Looking at the conditions, we have given preference to Mishra. We always try to get the balance right. This is the best combination for the Sri Lanka tour,” the former middle-order batsman added.

Mishra has 43 wickets from 13 Tests since his debut against Australia in October 2008 in Mohali after legendary Anil Kumble’s retirement.

Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, who made a comeback to the team in the one-off Test against Bangladesh, was retained as the second spinner.

Patil also said that the selectors and BCCI are happy with the veteran Jalandhar spinner’s comeback. The 35-year-old played his first match after 2013’s match against Australia in Hyderabad. Against Bangladesh, he took three wickets.

“We’re happy that Harbhajan has come strong. It’s up to us to represent each and every player who plays and performs,” Patil reasoned about Harbhajan, who has 416 wickets in 102 matches.

Karn and fast bowler Mohammed Shami were left out due to fitness related issues. Karn, who was ruled out of India’s tour of Zimbabwe in July with a fractured finger, is still recuperating from the injury while Shami is yet to get match-fit since his knee surgery.

“We got a fitness report prior to the meeting. Karn has still not recovered from injury, and it’s the same with (Mohammed) Shami,” Patil said.

Young Karnataka batsman K.L. Rahul, who missed the one-off Test in Bangladesh due to illness, has also been included in the team to be captained by Virat Kohli.

Right-armers Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will form a four-pronged pace attack.

India are scheduled to play three Tests in Sri Lanka. The first Test begins at Galle on August 12, followed by two matches at Colombo, starting August 20 and 28, respectively.

The squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wrddhiman Saha, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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