Former India cricketer, Gautam Gambhir has picked the eleven players of the Indian team who he believes should play in the first Test match of the 4-Test series commencing Friday against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
While the top 5 batsmen – Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane – are undebatable, India has a couple of tough calls to make below that. For the wicket-keeper batsman’s role, Gautam Gambhir has picked Rishabh Pant, who was India’s highest run-scorer in Australia. While Wriddhiman Saha is the specialist keeper in the home conditions, it is improbable to bench Pant after his heroics in Australia.
The former India opener would like the team to play with 5 bowlers – as Ajinkya Rahane opted for against Australia – and hence he picks Axar Patel over Washington Sundar to play alongside Kuldeep Yadav and R Ashwin. Gambhir reckons Axar Patel, who is the replacement for the injured Ravindra Jadeja, is capable of adding runs to the scoreboard.
“Five bowlers, hundred percent. I have always been a firm believer that India has to go in with five bowlers in any condition. So, probably Axar bats at No.7, it is a direct swap between Jadeja and Axar, Ashwin at No.8. Ashwin will be really confident after what he did at the SCG, Axar can contribute with the bat. So, India needs about 350-odd runs and they have got the bowling attack to get England out,” Gautam Gambhir told Star Sports.
Gautam Gambhir omits Ishant Sharma for the first Test; says Jasprit Bumrah should be rested in the second match
Gautam Gambhir has picked Mohammed Siraj over Ishant Sharma to partner Jasprit Bumrah in the first Test. Ishant, who is returning to the Test squad after missing the Australia tour, is snubbed by the former KKR captain for Siraj, who picked his maiden five-wicket haul at the Gabba.
The 39-year-old also asserts that Virat Kohli should rest Bumrah for the second Test, which will also be played in Chennai – this will keep India’s spearhead pacer fresh for the third Test match, which is a pink-ball day-night Test, in Ahmedabad.
“I would start with Jasprit Bumrah for the first Test match. I am going to give him a break for the second and then play him in the pink-ball Test match,” the former opener added.
Gautam Gambhir’s India XI:
Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj,