Former Indian opener, Wasim Jaffer on Sunday picked the playing XI for the first Test between India and England scheduled to be played in Chennai from February 5. Jaffer feels Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill should open the innings followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant in the batting order. Surprisingly, he included Axar Patel at no.7 followed by Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI.
Wasim Jaffer explained including Axar because the English batsmen struggle 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 Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur.
In his tweet, Jaffer wrote: “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):
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’ don’t have just good spinners in their bowling attack, while India’s pace attack is quite potent.
Thorpe had said, “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. More so with the Indian attack, we are aware. The training time (three days) will be used to strike a fine balance practicing both.”
India and England are set to play four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first two Tests will be played in Chennai, before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.