England and India will clash in the first Test of the much awaited five-match series at the Edgbaston Ground in Birmingham on August 1.
Apart from the one-off Test against Afghanistan, India last played a Test when they were in South Africa for the three-Test series in January earlier this year. Though they lost the first two Tests and the series, India made a strong comeback in the third and final Test on a very difficult pitch to bat on.
India will definitely be reminded of their last two sojourns to England by the media when they were thrashed 4-0 and 1-3 by the hosts. However, this is a new look team under a more aggressive captain in Virat Kohli. India will also have the likes of M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane in their armory, who had very good outings in the last tour to England in 2014.
Keeping the new faces and the older ones in mind, Team COC presents to you the COC Predicted Team India XI for the first Test against England.
With Shikhar Dhawan bagging a pair in the practice match against Essex and his blotchy form in the limited overs series, he might have put himself out of contention for the opening spot, despite a century against Afghanistan. This gives KL Rahul, who is in good form a chance to show his caliber. M Vijay had a very good outing in England last time and the onus will be on him to give India good starts.
Cheteshwar Pujara, despite his form, might be given a life at no.3 for India. He has a big chance to prove himself in such trying conditions and shows that he truly belongs in the team at that spot. The two most dependable batsmen in the team Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane might occupy the no.4 and no.5 spot in the batting lineup. Kohli had a good tour to South Africa overall and he showed glimpses of brilliance in the limited overs series against England too.
Rahane, on the other hand, justified his place in the team on the South Africa tour in the final Test by playing a brilliant match-winning inning. He scored a century in the 2014 Test win at Lord’s and will aim to do better this time around if given a chance.
In absence of Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik will get his chance to make an impression both with the gloves and with the bat. Karthik has previous experience of playing in England and had a successful tour in 2007 when India last won the series in England.
Hardik Pandya might get chance as the genuine all-rounder in this team and will also play the role of the third seamer. Pandya will play in England for the first time in Test matches and he will have a chance to do better than what he performed against South Africa. There are lots of hopes from Pandya to do well in England, given his heroics in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
COC predicts two spinners in R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav to go into the first Test, along with Hardik Pandya as the genuine all-rounder and the third seamer. Kuldeep has been brilliant with the ball so far in England and batsmen haven’t picked him perfectly. Plus the dry weather in England currently due to the heat will help Indian spinners.
With R Ashwin’s experience in such conditions and his ability to bat will give India chance to put up runs in the later with the tail. With COC predicting that India plays two spinners, there is space for just two fast bowlers and it might be filled by Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
Ishant Sharma is brilliant with the ball wherever he bowls and no one can forget how he bowled in the Lord’s Test in 2014. Ishant is the senior-most quick bowler in the team and onus of giving breakthroughs to the team will be on him.
He might be partnered with one of the few genuinely quick bowlers India has produced in recent times in Umesh Yadav. Umesh Yadav forced his way through into the Indian team thanks to a brilliant performance in IPL 2018. Now with the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, Yadav will have his time in the limelight and prove to his distracters that he can also hold his own in this team.
COC Predicted Team India XI for the first Test against England:
KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (WK), R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav