Mumbai: India's selectors have stuck to the same squad of 16 picked for the recent Bangladesh fixture while naming the players for the first two Test matches against Australia starting February 23 in Pune.
It was reported that fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who has not played for India since the third Test against England in November on account of a recurrence of a knee injury, might be selected but he remains sidelined.
And with Rohit Sharma also sidelined as he recovers from the right thigh injury sustained in October during the New Zealand ODI series, Karun Nair holds his place. Abhinav Mukund has been retained as the reserve opener.
The uncapped left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is the fourth spinner behind R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, currently the top two names in the ICC's Test bowlers rankings, and offspinner Jayant Yadav.
India are No 1 in the ICC Test Championship with 121 ratings points, followed by Australia at second with 109
Australia have not won a Test in Asia since August 2011, when they won the first of three Tests in Sri Lanka. Since then, they have drawn two and lost nine in a row. This woeful run includes a 4-0 win by India in 2013, 2-0 by Pakistan in the UAE in 2014 and a landmark 3-0 sweep by Sri Lanka last year.
Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav