IND vs ENG: Wasim Jaffer picks India’s probable XI for the first Test


Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer has picked India’s probable XI for their opening Test against England, starting February 5 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. India haven’t played a Test at home since their campaign against Bangladesh back in 2019.

To start with, Jaffer picked Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as the opening batters. Gill impressed in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, playing at an average over 50 with a top score of 91. Rohit, on the other hand, looked in great touch but had to face criticism for throwing his wicket away. Cheteshwar Pujara remains the bedrock of India’s middle-order.

Jaffer leaves out Mayank Agarwal

The game also marks the return of Virat Kohli, who hasn’t donned the national jersey since India’s defeat at the Adelaide Oval after being restricted for 36 in their second innings. Ajinkya Rahane returns to the eleven as the vice-captain after leading Team India to the 2-1 series in Australia. Jaffer’s choice for the keeper’s role was Rishabh Pant ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.

Pant was India’s top run-getter in the Australia Tests even as Saha played a solitary Test at Adelaide. Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel were confirmed selections as the spinners. Jaffer picked Axar bearing in mind England’s weakness against the left-arm spinner. He also feels that if the pitch helps the spinner then Kuldeep Yadav should get a chance. If not, then Shardul Thakur should be picked.

Jaffer was also in a bit of a conundrum between Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj. The latter picked 13 wickets in three Tests and was India’s standout bowler in the series. Sharma didn’t go to Australia after he was ruled out because of an injury that he developed while playing in the 2020 IPL. Jaffer also picked Jasprit Bumrah, who didn’t play the Brisbane Test.

Here’s Jaffer’s tweet: