February 4, 2021 8:00:54 pm
India vs England 1st Test Predicted Playing 11, Squad, Players List: A confident India will aim to soar higher with the return of Virat Kohli against Joe Root’s England during a four-Test series starting Friday with both sides bidding to qualify for the World Test Championship final.
James Anderson, the world’s highest wicket-taking seam bowler, will again test Rohit Sharma’s patience and Shubman Gill’s technique using the pronounced seam of the red SG Test while preparing a tough set of questions in the corridor of uncertainty for the Indian captain.
One might find Cheteshwar Pujara shedding his combative “take body blows” style to a slightly more attacking one on a track where the ball won’t be consistently flying above the waist level.
The Indian batsmen are likely to enjoy an upper-hand against the England slow bowlers as save Moeen Ali, the other two — off-spinner Dom Bess and left-arm spinner Jack Leach — haven’t had the experience of bowling against a formidable Indian batting line-up.
Against the old ball, one might see India unleashing Rishabh Pant, who on his day can murder any bowling line-up. Speaking of his bowlers, Root said that all three spinners are fit and available for selection.
However, it is the bowling combination that will be key for India as they aim to win at least two Test matches or more during the series in order to clinch a face-off against New Zealand in the WTC final at the Lord’s.
Jasprit Bumrah will also be making a different kind of debut — hist first Test at home since his debut against South Africa in 2018. Ishant Sharma, in his last Test appearance nearly a year back claimed a five wicket haul at the Basin Reserve but hasn’t played a red ball game ever since due to injury and COVID-19 induced break.
But Mohammed Siraj’s gutsy performance Down Under can’t be forgotten in a hurry and it will be one of the toughest calls for Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri in recent times when they decide between Siraj and Ishant.
The logic in favour of Ishant is that he was out due to injury and now gets his rightful place back as the man who is just three short of 100 Test matches. But then a form player always has an advantage and Siraj, over the years in first-class cricket, has toiled hard on unresponsive wickets.
The choice could well be between Washington Sundar, who had a great debut in Brisbane in unfavourable conditions, and Patel. Ravichandran Ashwin picks himself while Kuldeep Yadav, being a wrist spinner, is an attacking option that skipper Kohli would fancy.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishab Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasiprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Shardul Thakur.
England: Joe Root (captain), Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Foakes (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Dominic Bess, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.
Predicted Playing XI:
India: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Daniel Lawrence, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Jofra Archer, James Anderson/Stuart Broad.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines