Former India opening batsman Wasim Jaffer on Sunday picked hosts’ playing eleven for the first Test against England, to be played in Chennai from February 5.
Jaffer picked Rohit Sharma and youngster Shubman Gill as the opening pair against England. Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant are named in the middle-order while Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin are the two spinners included in the side.
The former batter included Axar because the English batter struggles against the left-arm spinner. India’s pace attack will be headed by Jasprit Bumrah while between Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj, the best should be picked depending upon the pitch, according to Jaffer. The same goes with spinner Kuldeep Sharma and Shardul Thakur.
“India’s Playing XI for 1st Test (IMO): 1 Rohit 2 Gill 3 Pujara 4 Kohli 5 Rahane 6 Pant 7 Axar* 8 Ashwin 9 Kuldeep/Thakur 10 Ishant/Siraj 11 Bumrah. Question is about 2 spots depending on combination + pitch. What’s your XI? *Eng have huge weakness vs left-arm spin. #INDvENG,” Jaffer tweeted.
India’s Playing XI for 1st Test(imo): 1 Rohit 2 Gill 3 Pujara 4 Kohli 5 Rahane 6 Pant 7 Axar* 8 Ashwin 9 Kuldeep/Thakur 10 Ishant/Siraj 11 Bumrah 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’s squad for first two Tests against England: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (subject to fitness), Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.
On Friday, England assistant batting coach Graham Thorpe said that the hosts’ bowling is not just about spinners as they also have a strong pace attack.
“The one thing about the Indian bowling attack is, it’s not just about spin. I suppose their seam attack is also strong and so from that point of view, it’s not to just get side-tracked completely into the spin side of things as well. Yes, it will be important no doubt about that,” Thorpe had said in a virtual press conference.
“Indian bowling has developed into a very good attack and we are very aware of that. When you come to the sub-continent you will have to deal with spin. More so with the Indian attack, we are aware. The training time (three days) will be used to strike a fine balance practising both,” he had added.
India and England are set to lock horns in four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first two games of the 4-game series will be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.