Former India opener, Wasim Jaffer has announced Indian eleven which he feels will take the field on Friday against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai for the first of the four-match Test series. Owing to pandemic India was not able to host any Test series last year.
The top five of India’s line-up is undebatable and Wasim Jaffer concurs with the same. Virat Kohli will return to the side and lead the team again after missing the last three Test matches against Australia. Ajinkya Rahane will go back as Kohli’s deputy after leading the side to a memorable comeback to win the series Down Under.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have established themselves as the first-choice opening pair, and hence Mayank Agarwal is almost certain to warm the bench – unless for some left-field tactic to bat him in the lower-order. The ever-stoic Cheteshwar Pujara is coming off having sustained a dozen body blows in Brisbane, and will want to reach a three-figure score soon – the right-hander hasn’t notched up a Test century for 2 years now.
Wasim Jaffer snubs Wriddhiman Saha
While Rishabh Pant has done more than enough to play as a batsman – he was India’s leading run-scorer in Australia and Man of the Man at the Gabba – however, there is still plenty to improve for the left-hander in wicket-keeping matters. But Wasim Jaffer picks him over Wriddhiman Saha despite the Bengal keeper being a better gloveman than Pant.
With the first couple of Tests being played at the Chepauk which is a spin-friendly pitch, hence, Saha’s omission is a big call.
The 42-year-old has bowling all-rounder, Axar Patel at number 7. Jaffer has observed England are vulnerable playing against left-arm off-spin – the visitors do have a host of right-handed batters in their line-up.
Selections of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah are beyond dispute, subject to their fitness as both missed the last Test match against Australia due to injuries. Bumrah will also play in his maiden Test on Indian soil.
Wasim Jaffer, who averaged 34.11 in 31 Tests for India and is a domestic cricket legend, is not sure who the Kohli-Shastri management will pick for the remaining two spots. He opines that based on the conditions and balance of the team one of Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur and one between Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma will make into the eleven for the first Test.
Wasim Jaffer’s India XI for the first Test:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteswar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
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