Pujara Rahane ST web

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Following the disappointing Test series loss at the hands of South Africa last month, India are set to resume their World Test Championship 2021-23 campaign in March. The runners-up of the previous edition will welcome Sri Lanka for a 2-match Test series, the schedule of which is as follows:

1st Test - March 4-8 (Mohali)

2nd Test - March 12-16 (Bengaluru)

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BCCI announced the squad for the SL series on Saturday, with Rohit Sharma being named as the captain. However, there were quite a few key exclusions from the side with senior members Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha dropped from the squad.

Here is how India's probable XI could look like in their absence:

1. Rohit Sharma (captain)

Rohit Sharma has now been appointed as India's skipper across all three formats and he is set to begin his tenure as Test captain with the series against Sri Lanka. With his impressive performances as opener in recent times, the right-handed batter is set to bat at top of the order.

2. Mayank Agarwal

With KL Rahul ruled out of the series, Mayank Agarwal is likely to open the innings alongside Hitman. The 31-year-old played a couple of decent knocks against South Africa and he will be looking to make most of the opportunity against Sri Lanka.

3. Shubman Gill

The talented right-handed batsman has been out of action for a while due to an injury. However, Shubman Gill is now set to make a comeback in the side and if the reports are to be believed, he is being considered as a long-term replacement for Cheteshwar Pujara at the No. 3 slot.

4. Virat Kohli

The former Indian captain will start a new phase of his Test career under the leadership of Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli 2.0 is set to unleash as a batsman and he is most likely to retain his position at No. 4 only where he has had success throughout his career.

5. Shreyas Iyer

The youngster made a stunning debut in his Test career with his remarkable performances against New Zealand. Having missed out on an opportunity against South Africa, Shreyas Iyer might get a nod ahead of Hanuma Vihari at the crucial No. 5 position, as a replacement of Ajinkya Rahane.

6. Rishabh Pant (wk)

The explosive cricketer has become the first-choice opener for India in Tests in recent times. Rishabh Pant has been rested for the T20I series and as he returns for the red-ball series, he will be slotted right at No. 6 without any second thought.

7. Ravindra Jadeja

The all-rounder is finally set to make his comeback in the Indian side, after being out of action for the last few months due to an injury. Ravindra Jadeja is fully fit now and with no Axar Patel as well, he will take the No.7 position.

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8. Ravichandran Ashwin

There is uncertainty over the fitness of Ravichandran Ashwin. However, if he is available for selection, the 0ff-spinner will indeed start for India. Just in case he is not fit, Jayant Yadav might take his position in the side.

9. Kuldeep Yadav

The left-arm chinaman is also back in India's Test set-up and he is expected to be named in the playing XI right from the beginning. The team mostly plays three spinners in home conditions and Kuldeep Yadav will provide the much-needed variation in the spin attack.

10. Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain)

The right-arm pacer has been India's leader of pace attack in Tests and he is set to play the series, with not much red-ball action for team going ahead. Jasprit Bumrah will also be the vice-captain of the side in absence of KL Rahul.

11. Mohammed Shami

The right-arm fast-bowler is expected to be given a nod ahead of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj for the Tests against Sri Lanka. Mohammed Shami has been prolific for the side in recent times and having been rested for the series against West Indies, he should be up and running against Sri Lanka.