The first Test of the upcoming five-match Test series between India and England will be played in Rajkot and both the teams would want to start well. Playing 5-match Test series in India is never easy but England would be hoping to start well after their brilliant performance in the last series against India in India.
The track in Rajkot will be a turning track and India would bank on their spin-trio to do well and exploit English batsmen’s weakness against spin. In the batting unit, due to injuries to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir will open the innings for India alongside Murali Vijay. Number 3, 4, and 5 will be taken by Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane respectively. Wirddhimman Saha will be the obvious choice for the job of wicketkeeper.
Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble will have to make a choice between Hardik Pandya and Karun Nair, and we at The Cricket Lounge believe it will be Hardik Pandya who will be drafted in the playing XI. Pandya showed improvement as a bowler in the last ODI series against New Zealand and he will provide a seam-bowling option, considering India might go with three spinners and one fast bowler.
Here’s how we think India’s playing XI will look like for the 1st Test:
1. Gautam Gambhir