Cheteshwar Pujara has been rewarded with a return to the India squad for the rearranged fifth Test against England in July after a fine spell in the County Championship.

India, led by Virat Kohli, were 2-1 up in the five-match Test series in England before the tourists were unable to field a team due to coronavirus-related concerns in September.

The one-off Test starts at Edgbaston on July 1, following a four-day warm-up game against Leicestershire on June 24, and India have named their 17-man red-ball squad.

Pujara was dropped for the home Test series against Sri Lanka but has been reinstated after managing 720 runs in eight innings for Sussex – including four centuries – in County Championship Division Two.

Ravindra Jadeja is also part of the touring party despite pulling out of the ongoing Indian Premier League due to a rib injury, while Hanuma Vihari and Shubman Gill retained their spots.

Rohit Sharma will lead the Test side after Kohli, who remains in the squad, stepped down as captain following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa earlier this year.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will lead the bowling attack, which includes Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and the uncapped Prasidh Krishna.

Ajinkya Rahane was not available for selection after sustaining a hamstring injury, while openers Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal were the other two left out from the Sri Lanka series.

Meanwhile, Rohit, Kohli and Bumrah were all rested for the home five-match T20I series against South Africa, which starts on June 9.

KL Rahul will skipper the white-ball side in Sharma's absence, with fast bowler Umran Malik handed a maiden call-up after impressing in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The experienced Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik return to the international limited-overs squad, while spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal make their comebacks after taking the IPL by storm.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer all retain their spots, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar heading a bowling attack that includes Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh.

India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain) Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

India’s T20I squad: KL Rahul (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (vice-captain)(wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

India star Virat Kohli might take a break to "rejuvenate mentally and physically", but assures he is in "the happiest phase of my life".

Kohli stepped down as India's Test captain in January following a series defeat to South Africa, having already relinquished his role as skipper of his country's white-ball teams.

The 33-year-old has struggled for form in 2022, averaging 21.45 in the ongoing Indian Premier League before Thursday's clash with Gujarat Titans – his lowest figure in the tournament since 2008.

Kohli, who also gave up the captaincy at Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, has not scored a century in any format since November 2019 when he managed 136 in Kolkata against Bangladesh.

While he averages 49.95 in the longest format, Kohli acknowledged it may be time for a rest.

"It's not a lot of people who mentioned it [taking a break]," Kohli told Star Sports. "There is one person precisely who has mentioned it which is Ravi [Shastri] and that's because he has seen from close quarters over the last six, seven years the reality of the situation that I have been in.

"The amount of cricket that I have played and the ups and downs and the toll that it takes on you to play three formats of the game plus the IPL for 10, 11 years non-stop with the seven years of captaincy in between.

"It is definitely a thing that one needs to consider because you don't want to do something which you are not a part of 100 per cent and I have always believed in that in my life.

"So to take a break and when to take a break is obviously something that I need to take a call on, but it is only a healthy decision for anyone to take some time off and just rejuvenate yourself mentally and physically.

"Not so much physically because physical fitness you keep up with through the course of playing cricket all the time, but it is a mental kind of reset that you need, and you want to be excited for what you are doing. You don't want to feel like you have been forcing yourself into any situation.

"It's only a thing of creating a balance and finding that balance which is right for you as an individual moving forward and I'll definitely discuss this with all the people involved – [India coach] Rahul [Dravid], the Indian team management, everyone to chart out whatever is best for myself and for the team definitely."

 

Kohli would not be the first high-profile international player to take a break from cricket to prioritise their mental and physical health, given new England Test captain Ben Stokes did so last year.

However, Kohli insists he is still enjoying his game as he looks to secure a playoff spot in the IPL with Bangalore.

"Right now, there is nothing that you can point out saying there is a problem here," Kohli said.

"I know where my game stands and you cannot come this far in your international career without having the ability to counter the situations and counter conditions and counter different kinds of bowling.

"So this phase for me is the easier phase to process but I don't want to put this behind me. I want to learn from it and understand that what are the core values that I have as a sports person and as a human being.

"As long as I'm ticking those boxes, I know these are ups and downs and when I come out of this phase I know how consistent I can be. I know how motivated I will be once the scores start coming.

"My experiences are sacred to me – whatever I have experienced in this phase or in the past as well. 

"So I am experiencing now that I value myself and I care for my own well-being way more than I would have in the past. And actually, contrary to a lot of belief or a lot of perceptions as I mentioned on the outside, I'm actually in the happiest phase of my life."

India coach Rahul Dravid praised "phenomenal leader" Virat Kohli for keeping team morale high amid ongoing questions regarding his resignation as T20I captain and subsequent removal as ODI skipper.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain but is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly explained the selectors felt there would have been too much leadership in the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain, though the batsman dismissed those claims and has opted against attending pre-match media duties since.

But Kohli impressed as India beat South Africa by 113 runs at Centurion in the first Test of their three-match series and Dravid hailed the superstar for remaining focused on the matter at hand.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday ahead of the second Test in Johannesburg, Dravid said: "I know there's been a lot of noise on other issues a little bit, outside of the group, even leading into this Test match, but honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high, it's not been very difficult because, to be honest, it's been led by the skipper himself.

"I think Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last sort of 20 days that we've been here – the way he's trained, the way he's practised, the way he's connected with the group.

"As a coach, sometimes, leading into the series, you know that there's not really too much you can do once the game starts, or there's not too much you can control in the results. But what you're really looking to do as coaches or as support staff, we're looking to prepare well and get the team into a really good space. 

"And Virat has been phenomenal in that – the way he's led the team, he's been absolutely, truly a leader, and I couldn't speak more highly about him and the way he's committed to his own preparation, his own practice, and also just the way he's connected with the group over the last two weeks.

"On and off the field he's truly been a fantastic leader and a really good captain, so that's really helped in creating a really good space. I felt we were in a really good space leading into the first Test match, and a lot of that was led by Virat and his leadership really came to the fore. 

"It's not been hard, it's been a pleasure to work with someone like Virat, he's been a phenomenal leader, and even personally I think that he's in a really good space."

"I think he's been a real credit to himself and to Indian cricket over these last two weeks in spite of all the noise that's been there around him."

Rahul Dravid will replace Ravi Shastri as India head coach after the T20 World Cup.

Shastri's reign will come to an end following the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and the Board of Control for Cricket in India last month invited applications for the post.

Legendary former India batter Dravid was expected to succeed Shastri and his appointment was confirmed while India were playing Afghanistan in a crucial World Cup match on Wednesday.

Dravid, 48, will start his tenure with a home T20I series versus New Zealand this month followed by two Tests against the Black Caps.

Shastri took over as head coach of his country for a second time in 2017 and helped guide India to the top of the Test rankings and an inaugural World Test Championship against New Zealand, which the Black Caps won this year.

Dravid said: "It is an absolute honour to be appointed as the new head coach of the Indian Cricket Team and I am really looking forward to this role.

"Under Mr Shastri, the team has done very well, and I hope to work with the team to take this forward. Having worked closely with most of the boys either at NCA, U19 and India A setup, I know they have the passion and desire to improve every day.

"There are some marquee multi-team events in the next two years, and I look forward to working with the players and the support staff to achieve our potential."

Sourav Ganguly, president of the BCCI, said: "The BCCI welcomes Rahul Dravid as the head coach of India's senior men team.

"Rahul has had an illustrious playing career and is one of the greats of the game. He has also served Indian cricket as head of National Cricket Academy (NCA) with distinction. Rahul’s effort at the NCA has nurtured several young cricketing talents who have gone on to represent the country at the international stage.

"I am hopeful that his new stint will take Indian cricket to new heights."

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