The first Test between India and Australia of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 Test series will be played at the VCA stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur and the anticipation and excitement are at all-time high.
India is the current holder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as they won the 2017 series at home and then defeated Australia in their own home in 2018-19 and 2020-21. Australia will be looking forward to beating India to avenge the humiliation of losing the back-to-back Test series at home.
Also, a spot in the final of the ICC WTC 2023 will be on the line as India needs to win atleast three Tests to qualify for the finals, while Australia already has one foot in the summit clash.
The Rohit Sharma-led side, on the other hand, will be keen on continuing their dominant run at home, and keeping this in mind, Team COC presents the predicted Team India playing XI for the 1st Test in Nagpur.
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Indian skipper Rohit Sharma is fit and eager to lead the team after injuries and fitness issues hampered his abilities to captain the side. However, the question is who will open with Rohit as there are two candidates in KL Rahul, the vice-captain, and Shubman Gill.
Rahul was in terrible form averaging 17.12 across eight innings in 2022 and scored just one fifty. Shubman Gill, meanwhile, scored his maiden Test century against Bangladesh and has been in terrific white-ball form since then.
The openers will be followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a century in Bangladesh after a 3-year barren run and then Virat Kohli will come as he is also eager to make his mark in Tests after regaining form in ODIs and T20Is.
India will also be missing Shreyas Iyer in the middle order as he is having back issues and India might opt for Suryakumar Yadav in his place as he plays spin well and can be a viable attacking option in absence of Rishabh Pant.
India might be tempted to play KL Rahul at no.5 given that he plays spin well and also is the vice-captain of the side.
Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat will be vying for the wicketkeeping spot and while Kishan presents the attacking option, his batting in the recent white ball series against spin was found wanting. India might also need a proper keeper on tracks that might turn on day 3 or 4 and here is where KS Bharat comes into play.
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He has been Rishabh Pant’s understudy for a long time and showcased that he is an excellent keeper during the Kanpur Test against New Zealand in the 2021-22 season.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin will be expected to perform the role of bowling all-rounders and if the pitch assists can be a huge threat for Australian batters. Now the discussion for the third spinner comes as India can opt for Akshar Patel to lengthen their batting lineup, or can go for Kuldeep Yadav to gain that extra advantage of a wrist spinner against the Aussies.
If India goes for three spinners, then Mohammad Shami might be partnered by either Umesh Yadav for whom VCA Stadium is his home ground, or Mohammed Siraj, who has been excellent in Tests for quite some time now.
COC Predicted Team India playing XI for the 1st Test:
Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj