From sending coded messages to Ajinkya Rahane during the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar trophy to trolling Nasser Hussain after India’s emphatic 2-1 victory over Australia, former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer has been very active on social media of late. Ahead of the high profile Test series against England, Wasim Jaffer has now given his prediction for India’s playing XI for the 1st Test that gets underway on February 5th in Chennai.
Jaffer went in with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as the openers followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Shubman Gill had a magnificent series in Australia, scoring 259 runs in three Tests, included a scintillating 91 in the second innings of the Gabba Test, helping India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were obvious selections. He had to choose between Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant as his wicketkeeper and he went in with the latter because of his better skills with the bat.
Jaffer further selected Ravichandran Ashwin as the lead spinner of the team which is not a surprise. Axar Patel was also given a nod ahead of Washington Sunder as Jaffer believes that English batsmen are not very comfortable against the left arm spinners. There is a toss up between Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur for the third bowler and their selection will depend upon the conditions. Similarly, Jaffer thinks that India can select one of Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Siraj as their second pacer. Jasprit Bumrah also finds a place in the playing XI after missing the fourth Test against Australia due to an injury.
Wasim Jaffer’s possible playing XI for the 1st Test
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli©, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
India’s squad for the first two Tests
Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul , Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.