Thursday, 23 August 2018 - 7:10
India added two new faces to Test squad


India has named 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw and 24-year-old Hanuma Vihari in the squad for the last two Tests against England at Southampton and Oval.
Murali Vijay, India's preferred opener in the first two Tests, has been dropped whereas Kuldeep Yadav too fails to find a place in an exponential decline of fortunes across the summer.
Both Vijay and Kuldeep had already been overlooked for the third Test in Nottingham.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, still struggling with the lower back injury he aggravated in the third and final ODI against England, continues to be absent from India's squad.
Shaw, who averages 56.72 in first-class cricket with seven hundreds and five fifties, is an opener who has forced his way into the squad on the back of a string of strong performances for India A.
His recent scores include 188 against Windies A at Beckenham, 62 against England Lions at Worcester and 136 against South Africa A in Bengaluru.
Even before he led India U19 to a World Cup title earlier this year, Shaw was popular in the domestic circuit.
He scored a hundred on debut in Ranji Trophy and then became the youngest player to score a hundred on debut in Duleep Trophy, a record previously held by Sachin Tendulkar.
Vihari, who's batted at No. 3 for India A, comes into the India squad in red-hot form as well, having hit 148 against South Africa A in Alur earlier this month.
He is a middle-order reinforcement though and may have to wait for his chance in a batting line-up populated by Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli himself.
Pujara's position, often untenable because of being out of sync with modern Test scoring rates, seems to be the most at risk, although he seems to have earned a longer rope with a gritty half-century in Nottingham.
Additionally, Vihari captains Andhra in the Ranji Trophy and averages a whopping 59.79 across 63 games since November 2010, his highest score being 302 not out.
India squad:
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Hanuma Vihari
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