Before India faces England in the first Test on August 1, cricket pundits and fans both are coming up with different playing XI combinations for the Virat Kohli-led Indian team.
While some want Kuldeep Yadav to replace R Ashwin and play his first Test in England, India opener Gautam Gambhir came up with an interesting suggestion.
Gambhir wants India to play both Ashwin and Kuldeep. He suggested the off-spinner should replace Hardik Pandya and play as an all-rounder. “We keep talking about the weather, it is so hot and it’s been like an Indian summer where the wickets are too dry. I will be tempted to pick two spinners. I would play (Ravichandran) Ashwin at 7 in place of Hardik and play Kuldeep (Yadav) and then the three seamers,” Gambhir said while talking on Cricbuzz.
The 36-year-old feels this is India's best set of bowlers. “You are literally going with your best five bowlers Ashwin, Kuldeep then you’ve got Shami and Ishant and Bhuvi. This is the best combination going forward,” he added.
Gambhir isn't ignoring Pandya completely. He acknowledges his all-round contribution but feels if the pitch is going to assist spinners, India should definitely think about the strategy he suggested.
“Hardik Pandya, yes, he can contribute with the bat, he can contribute with the ball as well but I think Ashwin is someone who’s going to give you that edge once the wickets are dry especially in the second innings. It’s not just about the first innings it’s about the second innings as well in Test cricket,” he said.
“Ashwin is someone who’s got an unbelievable Test record so we got to try and play Ashwin and Kuldeep to start off with,” Gambhir added.