India take on Bangladesh in the first Test match of the two-match series, starting Wednesday, December 14. The match takes place at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram. Both the sides play against each other in the longest format after Bangladesh handed a shock 2-1 defeat to India in a three-match ODI series. Talking about the Test format, India are at the fourth spot in the World Test Championship table and they need to win all their remaining six Test matches to keep their hopes for a final spot alive. In such a case, the two matches against Bangladesh become crucial.
Regular India skipper Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the 1st Test due to a thumb injury and it is KL Rahul who will be leading the side in his absence. Notably, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of the entire series. Shami picked up a shoulder injury, while Jadeja is currently recovering from knee surgery.
Here is what we think could be India’s playing XI for 1st Test vs Bangladesh –
Shubman Gill: The right-handed batter is likely to get the opportunity to open the batting for India, with stand-in skipper KL Rahul accompanying him from the other end. In his small Test career of 11 matches, Gill has been decent with the bat scoring 579 runs.
KL Rahul (c): The right-handed batter will not only have the responsibility to perform as a batter, but also to fill in the shoes of regular skipper Rohit Sharma.
Cheteshwar Pujara: The number 3 batter too will have a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders, considering he is one of the senior-most players in the team and also the vice-captain for the match. Pujara is India’s Test specialist and that raises the bar of expectations from him in the format.
Virat Kohli: The former India skipper in growing in confidence with every passing game. Since the Asia Cup this year, Virat Kohli seems to be a different batter, one who is more composed and more confident than ever before.
Shreyas Iyer: The right-handed batter has been in decent form. Talking about Test cricket, in particular, Shreyas Iyer averages 46.88 after playing 5 matches.
Rishabh Pant (w): The wicketkeeper-batter is a proven match-winner for India in Test cricket. With time, Pant has grown in confidence and honed his skills to become a much-better version of himself.
Axar Patel: The all-rounder is slowly and gradually becoming an important member of Team India with his impressive performances. He has been a superb replacement of injured Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The all-rounder is a gem in Test cricket, especially in Asian pitches. His bowling variations and street-smart nature make him a really tough bowler for the opponents. Ashwin can also contribute with handy knocks in batting.
Shardul Thakur: The all-rounder is one of the key players for the Indian team. While he can fetch swing and seam movements from the ball to trouble the batters, Shardul Thakur can also make notable contributions in batting.
Mohammed Siraj: The star pacer is a go-to bowler for any captain. Adept in providing crucial breakthroughs, Siraj would carry a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders in the absence of star pacers like Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Umesh Yadav: Given that there is no Mohammed Shami in the team, the vacant spot for a pacer gives a chance to both — veteran pacer Umesh Yadav, and left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat. However, Umesh’s comparatively vast experience of Test cricket might help him getting a nod ahead of Unadkat.
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