Shami, Mishra may miss first two Australia Tests

The India squad for the first two matches of the four-Test series against Australia set to be announced on Tuesday.

It is understood that Moahmmed Shami’s recovery was on course until he had to rush back home following the demise of his father a fortnight ago. Since then, the fast bowler hasn’t reported back at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Mohammed Shami and Amit Mishra’s availability will determine whether the national selectors will have to tinker with the 16-member squad of the one-off Bangladesh Test for the forthcoming series against Australia. The M.S.K. Prasad-led panel will discuss the possibility when they sit down at the BCCI headquarters here on Tuesday.

Shami, the pace spearhead, hasn’t featured ever since the third Test against England last November after suffering a right leg injury, while leg-spinner Mishra was replaced with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav for the one-off Test against Bangladesh after hurting his knee during the third T20I against England on February 1.

It is understood that Shami’s recovery was on course until he had to rush back home following the demise of his father a fortnight ago. Since then, the fast bowler hasn’t reported back at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

Mishra, on the other hand, headed back home after getting himself assessed in Hyderabad ahead of the Test against Bangladesh. He is unlikely to be considered for the first two Tests.

Considering the fitness scenario and the varying conditions that are likely to be countered during the four-Test series against Australia, the national selectors could well select the squad for the first two Tests, to be played in Pune from February 23 and in Bangalore from March 4.

Abhinav likely to be retained

The selectors are unlikely to toy with the set combination going into the last leg of a long home season of Test cricket. With India having won eight of the nine Tests so far, the only talking point is the reserve opener’s slot. With Shikhar Dhawan having been dropped and Gautam Gambhir having been tried out as a stop-gap opener so far this season, the selectors preferred Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund for the Bangladesh Test. The left-handed batsman is likely to continue as a back-up to Murali Vijay and K. L. Rahul.

It would be interesting to see if the selectors decide to prune the squad size from 16 to 15. If it has to be done, either chinaman Yadav or all-rounder Hardik Pandya will have to miss out on joining the squad in Pune next week.

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