Amit Mishra included in squad for Sri Lanka Tests


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India's selection committee, headed by Sandeep Patil, on Thursday, included leg-spinner Amit Mishra in the 15-man squad for the tour of Sri Lanka. There were no major surprises in the Virat Kohli-led squad with the exception of Mishra's inclusion, who was selected in the aftermath of Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah's success in their win over Sri Lanka earlier this month.

BCCI also honored Virat Kohli's request to play the second 'unofficial Test' between India A and Australia A in Chennai. The Indian skipper, who had a modest outing against Bangladesh, chose to play the four-day game as a tune-up to his first full series as captain of the Test side.

Amit Mishra last played against England in the Oval Test of 2011 where he went wicketless but contributed 43 and 84 runs with the bat even as India succumbed to an innings defeat. The leggie picked up 10 wickets from six games at 20.40 in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season and enjoyed a moderately successful stint in IPL 2015 where he ended with nine wickets from 12 games at 34.44 and formed an excellent spin partnership with Imran Tahir.

"Amit Mishra was always in scheme of things. He was always part of our thinking and looking at conditions, we've picked him for the Sri Lanka tour," Patil told in a press conference in New Delhi following the squad announcement.

Karn Sharma, who was part of the squad for the solitary Test against Bangladesh, was the only notable absentee having suffered a finger injury ahead of India's limited overs tour of Zimbabwe earlier this month while pacer Mohammad Shami is still undergoing rehabilitation work on his injured knee at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

"We got a fitness report prior to the meeting. Karn has still not recovered from injury, and it's the same with Shami," Patil said. "BCCI is very keen on standard of fitness and NCA will play a big role in India and India A squads," BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur added.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul, who missed the one-off Test against Bangladesh due to illness, returned to the squad while veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh was retained as the second spinner. The 23-year Karnataka opener scored a timely 96 for India A against the visiting Australia A side on the opening day of the ongoing First Class game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

"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. While India didn't nominate a backup keeper to Wriddhiman Saha, Patil said that a backup keeper would be flown in to the squad should the situation arise.

India are scheduled to fly to Sri Lanka on August 1 with the first Test at the Galle International stadium to be played on August 12

India Squad:

Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra,