India squad for first and second Tests v England 2012-13
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain
India's skipper in all forms for more than four years, Dhoni is a fiercely-determined wicketkeeper-batsman capable of breathtaking strokeplay. His game appears more naturally suited to the shorter forms, but he averages over 45 in Tests on home soil and also boasts an ice-cool temperament.
Arguably one of the finest opening batsmen to have played the game, Sehwag's all-or-nothing approach at the top of the order can frustrate and delight in equal measure. After a lean spell - his last Test hundred prior to this series came in November 2010 - the 34-year-old, a devastating punisher of width, will be keen to demonstrate his worth.
A left-hander with plenty of shots in his armoury, Gambhir can knuckle down when needed but comes into this series under some pressure following a lengthy spell without a century. In 2009, he was the International Cricket Council's Test player of the year, but it remains to be seen whether he can recapture his best form.
Pujara faces the nigh-on impossible challenge of following in the footsteps of Rahul Dravid. India's latest number three would appear to boast similar defensive qualities to 'The Wall' and has already impressed many in the early stages of his international career.
What more can be written about the great Tendulkar? A walking batting textbook, he is the leading run-scorer in Tests and one-day internationals, and his record of 100 (and counting) international centuries may never be surpassed. At 39, the Little Master is nearing the end of his career at the highest level, but do not bet against him enjoying a final flourish.
The pick of India's younger batsmen, Kohli is likely to carry the hopes of his country for years to come. A majestic timer of the ball, he has displayed increasing maturity in recent times and can be expected to transfer his stunning success in limited-overs cricket to the Test arena.
Cricket lovers around the world will be thrilled to see Yuvraj playing Tests again following his recovery from a rare form of lung cancer. A powerful left-handed batsman and handy occasional spin option, he loves the big occasion and will surely be a danger to England.
Uncapped in Tests ahead of this rubber, Rahane demonstrated his potential as a limited-overs batsman versus England last year. A diminutive right-hander, he boasts a sensational first-class average and comes into this series in fine form, having added 200 with Mumbai team-mate Tendulkar in a Ranji Trophy fixture at the start of November.
A tall, dependable opening batsman, Vijay has had to wait for opportunities with India due to the pre-eminence of Sehwag and Gambhir. In November 2008 he shared an opening stand of 462 with Abhinav Mukund in a Ranji Trophy game, two short of a world record.
The 26-year-old has usurped Harbhajan Singh as India’s leading off-spinner. Ashwin, who has a variety of dangerous deliveries, took nine match wickets on Test debut in November 2011 versus West Indies, the second highest by an Indian debutant. Later in that series he scored a century.
The leader of India’s pace attack, Zaheer was closing on 300 Test wickets going into this rubber. The left-armer is an expert of conventional and reverse-swing and will be keen to make an impact after limping out of India’s tour of England last year during the first Test of four.
Ashwin’s Test spin twin in recent times, the left-armer has been a formidable foil with 33 of the duo’s 73 wickets in the five home Tests during the 12 months leading into this series. Having made his debut three years ago, Ojha’s 16 Tests have all been in the sub-continent.
A lofty fast bowler who struggled during England’s whitewash of India last year. Ishant therefore has a point to prove against Alastair Cook’s side on home soil where, despite pitches usually favouring spinners over seamers, he has a better Test record than overseas.
The feisty spinner has been recalled to the Test squad after 15 months out of the side and starts the series behind Ashwin and Ojha in the pecking order. Harbhajan boasts 406 Test scalps, making him India’s third-highest wicket-taker and 10th on the international list. He is also a dangerous batsmen with two Test tons.
The 25-year-old seamer first considered a career in cricket only six years ago. Yadav made his senior debut four years ago and his India bow two and a half years later in a one-day international. Test recognition came versus West Indies in November 2011 and he has taken 28 wickets in eight games ahead of this series.
Dinda was called up as cover for fellow seamer Ishant, who was ruled out of the first Test with a viral infection. Dinda, whose breakthrough came when he was spotted bowling in the nets at Kolkata, had represented India in both limited-overs formats but was yet to play a Test.