After three long years, Virat Kohli’s Team India is back in England to take on Joe Root’s England in a 5-match Test series. The opener begins on Wednesday in Nottingham but the visitors keep facing injury scares. Three players have already returned while another got ruled out from the opening Test after suffering a concussion in the nets. In this scenario, the duo of Kohli and head-coach Shastri will have a deep look at the opening combination in a balanced line-up that could break the jinx of losing the first match of a Test series on English soil.
Here’s our India predicted XI for the first Test against England:
1. KL Rahul: The unavailability of Gill and Mayank ensures Rahul to play a Test after almost two years and of course, open the innings with Rohit Sharma. Last time when Rahul played a Test in England, he scored a hundred. The same thing he did in the practice game and now it’s time to show his calibre in a full house Trent Bridge.
2. Rohit Sharma: This will be Rohit’s first Test in England as an opener. He didn’t do well in the practice game against a County Select XI but as he gears up for the ultimate showdown, fans will expect to do what he is best at.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara: The new wall of Team India will be back in action. He would have a chance to start afresh after the WTC final failure. The right-hand batsman has gone through some intense training sessions under the watchful eyes of coach Shastri. It’s time to repeat the heroics of Brisbane in England as well.
4. Virat Kohli: The Indian captain, who was in top form in the previous England tour, will definitely go for the victory. He would look to have a better end result this time. Meanwhile, if he gets a hundred in this series, that will be the icing on the cake.
5. Ajinkya Rahane: The vice-captain of the team is fit and ready to go. He has given a confirmation on his fitness already and the fans are really excited to see him batting fearlessly, given his records in overseas Tests.
6. Rishabh Pant: The India wicketkeeper-batsman would be back to the ground where he began his Test career from. He has been in a great touch lately and even the hosts are aware of how dangerous this youngster could be. He has defeated Covid and now it’s time to challenge England on their home turf.
7. Ravichandran Ashwin: While others went for a break, Ashwin took out time to play a County game for Surrey and picked up 7 wickets in the match. His bowling figures in the game shows itself that India would need him when they take on England on Wednesday.
8. Ravindra Jadeja: The all-rounder did well in the practice game and scored fifties in both innings. Jadeja is currently in a red-hot form and has three-dimensional qualities – to bowl, bat and field superbly – to go in the opening Test against England.
9. Ishant Sharma: Since it’s likely to be a green top at Trent Bridge, the team would need their best paceman at work. Sharma has got everything that is required for a bowler to bowl in Nottingham. He would be eager to get in action, given a mouth-watering track for the fast bowlers.
10. Mohammed Shami: The Indian pace attack is incomplete without Shami, especially in a Test in England. He was terrific with the ball in the WTC final but losing the game would surely be pushing him to go for the kill against Root & Co.
11. Jasprit Bumrah: After a forgettable WTC final, in which he remained wicketless, Bumrah performed well in the practice game. He looked in rhythm and managed to create pressure on the batters. If he manages to continue the momentum in the first game, he only gets better in the series later while his association with Shami and Ishant could wreak havoc at Trent Bridge.
India Predicted XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah