Ahead of the first match of the five-Test series between India and England, former England skipper, in his column for The Telegraph, picked combined XI before the Rajkot opener. Vaughan chose not to name a skipper and included both Alastair Cook and Virat Kohli in the line-up. While five players were from the visiting camp, six were from the hosts.
The two openers picked are Cook and Cheteshwar Pujara. Surprisingly, Murali Vijay fails to make the cut. India opener is an asset in these conditions and can keep the side in the contest with a solid hand at top of the order. No.3, on expected lines, is English sensation Joe Root. Root has enjoyed success in all formats but his real Test lies in this tour of India. How he counters quality spin on assisting surfaces remains to be seen.
No prize for guessing the no.4 as it’s India skipper Virat Kohli. The Delhi dasher is in top form with the bat and recently hit a double hundred during the three-match series against New Zealand. Ajinkya Rahane, who adds a lot of strength to the Indian middl-order, follows Kohli at no.5.
With Hardik Pandya yet to make his Test debut, no.6 would have been a no-brainer for Vaughan. Ben Stokes sits pretty in the position and his ability with both bat and ball makes him an obvious choice. Wriddhiman Saha would feel undone here as, in home conditions, he could have pipped Jonny Bairstow for the wicketkeeper-batsman spot.
Vaughan’s XI: Alastair Cook, Cheteshwar Pujara, Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, James Anderson, Mohammed Shami
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