He can contribute with the bat: Gautam Gambhir picks Indias XI for the first Test against England in Chennai

As India get ready for the first Test against England which begins from Friday in Chennai, there are multiple questions regarding who would be a part of the playing XI. The world saw several youngsters from India emerging as heroes as they defeated Australia in their own backyard to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill – all the four players became household names after the historic achievement in their first-ever tour to Australia.

But the big guns of the Indian cricket team are back for the England Tests, including captain Virat Kohli, allrounder Hardik Pandya and fast bowler Ishant Sharma. Jasprit Bumrah and off-spinner R Ashwin, who missed the Gabba Test due to injuries are back into the squad as well.

Now the Indian team are in a happy dilemma regarding who they wish to play in the first two Tests in Chennai. But selecting the right playing XI can also be a tricky task.

Also Read | Can England spin a surprise in the first Test?

Speaking on Star Sports’ Game Plan, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir explained what player combination he would go with in the first Test.

“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.

The former left-handed batsman further said that he would rest Bumrah for the 2nd Test to keep him fit for the Day/Night Test in Ahmedabad.

“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.

Gambhir decided to stick to the opening pair of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. However, there was no place for comeback men Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma in Gambhir’s XI for the first Test against England. Both Pandya and Ishant were not a part of the Indian squad in Australia series.

“Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj,” Gambhir further said.

India will play four-match Test series against England. The two teams will also square off in 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is.

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