India look set to be without the services of Rohit Sharma for the entirety of their five-match Test series against England. The 29-year-old is expected to be sidelined for an initial period of six to eight weeks and could yet require "surgical intervention" on a thigh muscle injury sustained while hitting 70 runs in Visakhapatnam over the weekend as Anil Kumble's side clinched a 3-2 ODI win over New Zealand courtesy of a decisive 190-run victory.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced their 15-man squad for the opening two matches against England in Mumbai on Wednesday (2 November), with Rohit joined on the sidelines by two opening batsmen. KL Rahul is still struggling with a hamstring strain and Shikhar Dhawan also misses out due to a fractured left thumb, meaning that recalled 35-year-old Gautam Gambhir will continue to deputise at the top of the order alongside Murali Vijay. Karun Nair is also included.
Elsewhere, towering fast bowler Ishant Sharma returns to the fold after recovering from a viral condition. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is overlooked after failing to play any first-class matches in the aftermath of a hamstring injury, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya is handed his maiden call-up. Virat Kohli captains the team as usual.
Fresh from a rather unconvincing 1-1 draw against Bangladesh that culminated in a historic first defeat to the Tigers, England's first meeting with the world's No 1-ranked Test team at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot begins on Wednesday 9 November. Proceedings then move on to Visakhapatnam, Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai before Christmas and a three-match ODI series opens in Pune in January 2017. The lengthy winter tour culminates in three T20 international matches.
15-man India squad for opening two Test matches against England in Rajkot and Visakhapatnam
Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Karun Nair, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav