Australia v India Tests
India name squad for Aussie Tests
Virat Kohli captains a 16-man squad picked for the first two of four Tests against Australia
14 February 2017, 06:50 PM AEST
India have named a 16-man team for first two Tests against Australia as they seek to extend their current 19-match winning streak.
The squad has been named for the first two Tests only – February 23's Qantas Tour opener in Pune and the second Test in Bangalore from March 4.
It is the same squad from which an India XI beat Bangladesh in a one-off Test match last week, featuring the fourth double-century by captain Virat Kohli from as many series.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who missed the last two Tests of the recent five-match series against England with a leg injury, was not considered fit enough for selection.
Batsman Rohit Sharma, who injured his thigh during the one-day international series against New Zealand in October, only recently resumed training after undergoing surgery in England and was also deemed short of match fitness.
Uncapped left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav replaced injured leg-spinner Amit Mishra in the squad for the Bangladesh Test and he retained his place.
Mishra hurt his knee during India's T20 win over England on February 1.
India's current streak of 19 matches unbeaten is the best in Test cricket since Australia went 22 matches without defeat between September 2005 and January 2008 – a run that was ultimately ended by India in Perth.
It's also the fifth-longest undefeated run in Test history, with the West Indies topping that list after going 27 matches unbeaten between January 1982 and December 1984.
At home, their record is even more daunting, with the current run of 20 Tests undefeated (17 wins, three draws) equalling the Indian all-time mark first set between January 1977 and January 1980.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said he wouldn't be surprised if that streak extended to 23 matches by the conclusion of the upcoming series against Australia, who have just landed in India ahead of four Tests from February 23 in Pune.
"Australia are going to find it difficult to win here," Ganguly told Times of India. "It's hard to beat India in India.
"There could not have been a much stronger side than the one that toured India in 2001 and yet they could not win.
"Even the likes of Waugh, Warne, McGrath and Gillespie could not beat us.
"I had predicted before the England Test series that it will be 5-0 in India's favour, but it ended 4-0, and against Australia it could go 4-0 as well."
The 44-year-old pointed to the spin factor as being decisive in the country.
"In India you have to play spin well, as well as bowl spin well to win. It's as simple as that," he said. "It's the spinners that have made India so dominant at home over the last 25 years.
"They just keep coming, one after the other. (Anil) Kumble and Harbhajan (Singh) in my time, (Ravi) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja now.
"You hand the ball to any spinner, he wins you games."
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya.
Australia's schedule in India
Feb 17-19, Tour match v India A, Mumbai
Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune
Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru
Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi
Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala