Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer has picked his probable XI for the first test against England. The hosts are going in as favorites into the series after a historic win in Australia. On the other hand, India have not lost a home series since 2012.
They also lost only one test match at home in the last eight years. The Indian team did not play test cricket at home since 2019 due to COVID pandemic. However, the hype around the series is high as the two teams are going to play 9 test matches this year.
India are strengthened by the return of Virat Kohli who will be the captain. Wasim Jaffer has preferred youngster Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma as openers for the first test. Gill has shown he belongs to top level test cricket after his performances in Australia.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma has been a mainstay for India as opener in test cricket. But Mayank Agarwal was dumped after few not good performances down under. Middle order trio Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have retained their spots.
Interestingly this is the first time Virat Kohli will play after the 36 drubbing against Australia at Adelaide. The Indian skipper will be looking to make the most out of this test series. Jaffer also went ahead and picked Rishabh Pant as wicketkeeper batsman ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.
Saha has been the first choice in India but Pant’s recent resurgence would help him seal the spot. Jaffer also picked all rounder Axar Patel as he explained it due to England’s weakness against left arm spin bowling.
Veteran spin all rounder Ravichandran also is an obvious pick. On the other hand, Bumrah is the main spearhead for pace bowling attack. However, Jaffer has left two spots open with Kuldeep Yadav or Shardul Thakur fighting for one place depending on the conditions.
Young Mohammed Siraj could be fighting for his place with veteran bowler Ishant Sharma. Both the players have proved their mettle but it will be upto the team management to take the final call.
Wasim Jaffer’s starting XI for India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteswar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
India's Playing XI for 1st Test(imo):
Question is about 2 spots depending on combination + pitch.
What's your XI?
*Eng have huge weakness vs left arm spin. #INDvENG
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) January 31, 2021
India are set to face England in a four match test series starting February 5th at Chennai.