Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has picked India’s final XI for the first Test match against England.
Gambhir believes the hosts must play with five bowlers in the first Test match. The former Delhi player has backed Axar Patel to be in the playing XI as he can deliver the goods with the bat.
Gambhir picked Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma as the openers of his side. Gill had impressed in his maiden Test series against Australia as he scored 259 runs in three Test matches. Rohit Sharma looked in decent form and got off to starts in the last two Test matches against Australia.
“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,” said Gautam Gambhir.
Pujara takes his number three position whereas Virat Kohli gets back into the team at the number four position. Ajinkya Rahane takes the number five position in the batting order whereas Rishabh Pant bats at number six and he will also keep the gloves ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.
Axar Patel bats at number seven whereas Ravichandran Ashwin is the second spinner in the side for Gambhir. Kuldeep Yadav, who didn’t get his chances on the Australian tour, makes the cut into the playing XI for Gautam Gambhir.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj will be the fast bowlers for Gambhir. The former Delhi player has picked Mohammed Siraj ahead of veteran Ishant Sharma as the former impressed on the recent tour of Australia. Siraj had finished as the leading wicket-taker for the Indian team on the tour Down Under as he had scalped 13 wickets in three Test matches.
“Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj,” said Gambhir while speaking to Star Sports show Game plan.
The first Test match will take place at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai from February 5.