As we continue to sink the historic win Down Under, the focus shifts to the upcoming four-match Test series against England. Ahead of the series, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra picked his playing XI for the first Test scheduled to start from February 5 in Chennai.
The spotlight will be on the management who will face the problem of many while picking the playing XI for the first Test after the youngsters lived up to the expectations at the Gabba. The forthcoming series will also see the return of skipper Virat Kohli and senior fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who will slot in the playing XI directly.
Aakash Chopra almost retained the same batting order that played in Brisbane except for the inclusion of Kohli in place of Mayank Agarwal, who batted in the middle-order in the last outing. Otherwise, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will open the innings followed by Cheteshwar Pujara at No.3 in Chopra’s playing XI.
Kuldeep will play in the absence of Jadeja – Aakash Chopra on India’s playing XI
Ajinkya Rahane will follow Virat Kohli while Rishabh Pant will retain his berth as the wicket-keeper batsman. Many expected returning all-rounder Hardik Pandya to find a place in the playing XI but Aakash Chopra went with incumbent all-rounder Washington Sundar, who impressed with both bat and ball at the Gabba.
Going ahead, Aakash picked Kuldeep Yadav along with Ravichandran Ashwin while Sundar will serve as the third spinner. Kuldeep warmed the benches throughout the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and deserves an opportunity in the playing XI.
“According to me, he (Kuldeep) 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,” Chopra stated while speaking on a Facebook video answering fan questions.
Jasprit Bumrah will resume his duties while Ishant Sharma will slot back after recovering ahead of Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur, who impressed in the last outing.
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