Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was recalled to the Indian Test team last week, joining a formidable slow-ball attack for the three-match series in Sri Lanka next month.
Injury to fellow leg-spinner Karn Sharma and the spin-conducive nature of the pitches in Sri Lanka combined to facilitate Mishra’s recall.
“We always try to get the balance and (considering) the wickets in Sri Lanka. This is the best possible combination in the bowling department,” selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil said after naming the 15-member squad.
“Mishra was always in our scheme of things. Looking at conditions, we have picked him for the Sri Lanka tour,” he said of Mishra, 32, who played his last Test against England at The Oval four years ago.
Injured duo Sharma and paceman Mohammed Shami were not considered for the series, starting at Galle on August 12.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh retained his place in the slow-ball attack which also includes the man who replaced him as India’s number one spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin.
“We all are happy the way Harbhajan has come back,” Patil said of the feisty 35-year-old, who returned to the Test squad in last month’s one-off match against Bangladesh.
“We want this spin attack to deliver in Sri Lanka,” he added.
Opener KL Rahul, who missed the Test in Bangladesh through illness, returned to the side which features two other openers in Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
Colombo’s P Sara Oval will host the second Test from August 20, which will be Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s international swansong. The Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, also in Colombo, hosts the final Test from August 28.
India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron