With only hours to go for the series opener, India’s playing XI combination has become the talk of the town. The tour Down Under has given the side some young game changers. But the question is, will they be rewarded for the heroics with the return of the senior pros. The team management will have to ake some tough calls as they look to put together the best possible side against England.
Former opener Gautam Gambhir feels that Axar Patel should take the place of the third spinner instead of Brisbane hero Washington Sundar for the first Test. Gambhir asserts that Axar is the like for like replacement of Ravindra Jadeja. And given his prowess with the bat, he should be picked.
“Five bowlers, hundred percent. I have always been a firm believer that India has to go in with five bowlers in any condition. So, probably Axar bats at No.7, it is a direct swap between Jadeja and Axar, Ashwin at No.8. Ashwin will be really confident after what he did at the SCG, Axar can contribute with the bat. So, India needs about 350-odd runs and they have got the bowling attack to get England out,” Gambhir said speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan.
Give him a break for the second
Jasprit Bumrah will be leading the pace battery in the series and Gambhir feels that he should be rested for the second Test. The former opener explains that the hosts need Bumrah fresh for the pink ball Test in Ahmedabad. On the experience front, England will have an upper hand in the day-night Test. Hence, Gambhir wants India’s best quick fresh and ready for the challenge.
“I would start with Jasprit Bumrah for the first Test match. I am going to give him a break for the second and then play him in the pink-ball Test match,” Gambhir added.
The cricketer turned politician went on to name his complete XI for the opening Test. Barring Sundar, veteran quick Ishant Sharma was also missing from his predicted side. Gambhir prefered young Mohammed Siraj as the second quick ahead of an experienced Sharma.
“Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj,” Gambhir said as he shared his XI for the 1st Test.