Former cricketer Aakash Chopra has picked his ideal Indian playing XI for the first Test against England.
Team India will face the Joe Root-led team in the first Test of the four-match series in Chennai, starting on February 5. The selectors and team management have a tough task at hand to pick the playing XI, since some youngsters have made a strong case for themselves with their excellent performances in Australia.
While answering fan questions in a video shared on his Facebook page, Aakash Chopra has named the players he would like to see represent India in the first Test at Chepauk.
The reputed commentator was asked if India can bring back Kuldeep Yadav for the first Test against England.
He responded by stating that the left-arm wrist-spinner should certainly play, with India likely to field three spinners and Ravindra Jadeja not being available.
“According to me, he will play because Jadeja is not there and you will play at least two spinners in India. At this point, I feel you can play three,” said Aakash Chopra.
“In the playing XI, you can play the same five batsmen – Gill, Rohit, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane. You can keep Rishabh Pant at No.6 and Washington Sundar at No.7, with Ravichandran Ashwin at No.8. So you have batting till No.8,” added Chopra.
The former Indian batsman feels Kuldeep Yadav and a couple of pacers should complete the bowling attack. He reasoned the Chennai pitch is likely to assist the spinners.
“Then you play three proper bowlers in which one should be Kuldeep Yadav and two fast bowlers. Because you are talking about Chennai, agree it is February, so it will probably be slightly less hot but there are only three weathers in Chennai – hot, hotter and hottest. So, Kuldeep Yadav should play. The first and second Test are on the same ground and there is help for the spinners there,” observed Aakash Chopra.
Aakash Chopra was also asked if Shardul Thakur can be fielded as a seam-bowling all-rounder. While observing that is unlikely to happen, the 43-year-old named Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah as his preferred seamers for the first Test against England.
“You need two fast bowlers who can pick wickets. My first picks will be Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, if both are fit and available for the match. Obviously they have been picked, so we are assuming they will be fit and available for the first Test match,” concluded Chopra.
Although Aakash Chopra has picked Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper-batsman, rumours are doing the rounds that the Indian team could play the latter as a specialist batsman and have Wriddhiman Saha keep wickets.
India’s team is going to be very difficult to pick. The core issue is whether Saha keeps and you play 4 bowlers or whether Pant keeps and you play 5. With option 1, it is actually possible that none of those that bowled so gallantly at Brisbane get a game. That will be something!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 24, 2021
The Indian team could also opt to play Axar Patel ahead of Washington Sundar to add variety to their attack.
Aakash Chopra’s ideal Indian playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah