Senior batsman Rohit Sharma and veteran quick Ishant Sharma have been left out of India's Test and limited-overs squads for the highly anticipated tour of Australia due to injury.
While the duo's absence comes as a significant blow to India's line-up, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed that they will continue to monitor their progress.
Ishant, who has established his status as a Test specialist for India, was ruled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after suffering an abdominal muscle tear earlier in the competition.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit endured a hamstring niggle over a week ago and has missed the last two IPL matches. However, he was observed to be practising in the nets for the incumbent IPL champions hours after the announcement of the squads by BCCI.
“The BCCI medical team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
Already considered to be a white-ball great, Rohit has also taken up the Test opening role with charismatic brilliance over the past year.
With the 33-year-old now out of contention for a spot in the top-order, there is a bit of uncertainty regarding who would partner Mayank Agarwal for the four-Test series.
For this purpose, India have recalled KL Rahul into the Test set-up as the Kings XI Punjab captain is currently leading the batting charts in the IPL.
Rahul's previous red-ball stints have seen him fail to live up to his promise with a mediocre average of 34.58 after 60 innings in the longest format.
He will battle it out with Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill to occupy the place vacated by Rohit alongside Agarwal.
India's Test squad additionally includes uncapped pacer Mohammed Siraj, who recently wreaked havoc in the IPL with a record spell featuring two maiden overs.
Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Shami add further depth to the pace bowling department spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah since Bhuvneshwar Kumar's injury sustained during the IPL kept him unavailable for selection.
Dashing wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been restricted to the Test side with India preferring to go with Rahul as the designated gloveman in the shorter forms of the game.
Four standby bowlers will travel with the team to Australia: Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T Natarajan.
The Virat Kohli-led team are scheduled to fly out of UAE following the conclusion of the IPL and quarantine in Sydney next month. According to reports, Test regulars Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, and head coach Ravi Shastri have reached UAE.
The exact itinerary for the four Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is is yet to be determined.
Test squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur