India have recalled batsmen Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay to their 18-man Test squad for the tour of Australia, opting for experience for the four-match series.
Veteran Parthiv Patel is the second wicketkeeper behind the 21-year-old Rishabh Pant, after his Test debut during India’s five-match series in England.
Rohit, having shown strong limited-overs form, was dropped from the Test side after a poor return in South Africa earlier this year with 78 runs in four innings.
Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India in the first match in England, but were dropped during the 4-1 defeat and also left out of India’s two-Test home series against the West Indies.
Vijay responded with a hundred and three half-centuries for Essex in England’s county championship.
“We felt that Rohit’s nature of play, a very good back-foot player, his game is suited for Australia,” India’s chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters.
The 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw, after a century on debut against the Windies, and Lokesh Rahul are the other openers in the squad.
Allrounder Hardik Pandya, having injured his back during the Asia Cup, has not fully recovered meaning Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja will fill the role in Australia.
“It’s very difficult to match Hardik’s all-round ability,” Prasad said.
India’s regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha is still on the sidelines, recovering from a shoulder and thumb injury, which opens the door again for Patel, who has played 25 Tests.
On the pace bowling front, India travel to Australia at full strength with Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav all available.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are the spin bowling options.
India will play a three-match Twenty20 series before the first Test starts on December 6 in Adelaide.
Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will host the remainder of the Tests followed by a three-match ODI series.
Full Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (v-capt), Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Parthiv Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.