India take on Australia in the first IND vs AUS Test match in Nagpur starting on February 9. The Aussies are topping the WTC points table followed by India in the second position. The Men in Blue needs to win the series to play the final of the WTC 2021-23 edition.
The IND vs AUS Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 series will be played across four different venues in India. The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur will host the first Test from February 9 to 13, and the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi will host the second Test from February 17 to 21.
The third Test will be played at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala from March 1 to 5 and the fourth Test will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from March 9 to 13. The fourth Test might be a D/N affair as per reports.
India have a few key players missing from the first Test. Shreyas Iyer is ruled out with a back injury as is Jasprit Bumrah who is out of the Indian side since the T20 World Cup. They also do not have Rishabh Pant, the hero from the last BGT series who is recovering after an unfortunate accident that happened on December 31.
The absence of Iyer has opened up several possibilities for changes in the Indian playing XI. The batters might also need to bat out of position to ensure that they have the strongest playing XI.
The management is also pondering over picking two or three spinners in the XI depending on the conditions. In this article, we predict India’s possible playing XI for the first Test.
IND vs AUS: India Playing 11 For Australia, 1st Test, 2023
Rohit Sharma (C)
Skipper Rohit Sharma will open the batting. He averages 73 while batting in India in Test matches with seven centuries to his name. He has scored 408 runs in 7 Tests against Australia. This is a very important series for Rohit as India’s Test captain. A good innings in the first Test can set the tone for the series.
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On the form, Shubman Gill should open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma. He is in the form of his life right now having already scored over 5000 ODI runs this year so far. he also notched up his maiden double ton and maiden T20I ton. Gill has scored 259 runs in three Test against Australia.
Pujara will slot in at three. He found form after scoring his fastest Test century against Bangladesh off just 130 balls. That was his 19th Test ton overall. The Test specialist is closing in on 2000 Test runs against Australia.
The former Indian skipper will slot in at four. He is also back in form having scored two ODI centuries against Sri Lanka recently. He also top-scored in the T20 World Cup. Kohli has scored 1682 runs against Australia.
The Indian vice-captain can slot in at five allowing Gill to open the batting. Rahul has recently struggled across formats, especially in Test cricket. The Karnataka batter scored 137 runs in four Test matches in 2022.
KS Bharat (WK)
In Rishabh Pant’s absence, KS Bharat should be India’s first-choice wicket-keeper in the first Test. Bharat has plenty of experience playing first-class cricket and is well-skilled to keep up against Ashwin and Jadeja. He is likely to make his Test debut in Nagpur.
Ravindra Jadeja will make a comeback into the Indian Test side in the first Test. He has fully recovered from his knee injury. His batting at seven gives India depth in batting. The left-arm spinner has picked up 63 wickets against Australia. Jadeja picked up seven wickets against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy recently.
Ravichandran Ashwin will be the second spinner in the lineup. Australia is one of his favorite opponent ad he has 89 wickets in 18 Tests against the Aussies. He has also scored over 450 runs against them in Test matches. Ashwin picked up 20 wickets in 6 Tests in 2022.
Shami will lead the seam attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah in Nagpur. He is a key bowler for India in Test matches and his experience will be of immense value to the team. The veteran pacer has taken 31 wickets in 8 Test against the Aussies. Shami picked up 13 wickets in five Tests in 2022.
Mohammed Siraj will be the second pacer in the XI. He ended with 13 wickets in the previous Test series against Australia, the most by an Indian bowler. India will need him to bowl long spells in Nagpur. Siraj picked up 10 wickets in four Tests in 2022.
Axar Patel / Kuldeep Yadav
Depending on the team combination, India can pick either Axar or Kuldeep to complete the XI for the first Test. The chinaman bowler has been in good form of late having picked up a lot of wickets against New Zealand. He also picked up 8 wickets in the first Test against Bangladesh.
Also Read: IND VS AUS HEAD-TO-HEAD IN TEST, TEST RECORDS, PLAYER STATS, 1ST TEST, 2023
Virat Kohli | Rohit Sharma | Rishabh Pant | KL Rahul | Suryakumar Yadav | Sanju Samson | Shreyas Iyer | Yuzvendra Chahal | Jasprit Bumrah