IND vs AFG, Only Test – India Predicted XI

Will India go in with the three spinners in this historic Test match?

Indian players gather for the practice session
Indian players gather for the practice session. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The historic Test match between India and Afghanistan is all set to commence on Thursday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. They are the number 1 Test side in the World currently and no wonder will enter this game as the overwhelming favourites. Though they will not make the mistake of taking their opposition lightly which is coming off a brilliant T20I series victory over Bangladesh.

The team will be led by Ajinkya Rahane who will step in at the helm for the second time in his career. The regular skipper Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper Wridhhiman Saha are recovering from their respective injuries and will miss this game. Also, the pace bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are rested keeping in mind their workload in the upcoming tour. Having said that, the team combination looks ever so strong and should be able to dominate the Test debutants over the next five days.

Here we bring you the predicted XI of India:

Openers (Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay)

Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay have been the preferred openers for Team India over the last few years. Both have done extremely well at the top of the order. Vijay, especially, will be itching to hit the straps soon after spending the almost whole season on the bench for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during the IPL. He played only one game and he will only have to continue performing well. England tour will be a challenge and runs in this game will make him even more confident.

Shikhar Dhawan has been in form over the last few matches in the format. His ability to run away with the game is the best and the opposition will be wary of not giving him quick runs. Moreover, his record at home is exceptional and once he gets going, it is very hard to keep a lid on the run-scoring. Very few must have forgotten his century on debut against Australia. It is important for India to start well against the underdogs and the onus will be on this duo.

Middle-Order (Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk))

The second wall of India after Rahul Dravid is Cheteshwar Pujara and he is already in the groove after playing in the ongoing County Championship for Yorkshire. He is a rock-solid batsman and the best number 3 batsman going around in the World cricket. Though he will have to make sure that he doesn’t give away his wicket with his poor running. During recent South Africa, he was run-out twice in a single Test match and will have to take care about the same this time around.

KL Rahul should slot in at 4 taking the place of the skipper Virat Kohli. He himself is making a comeback to the side and his performance in this game will decide if he will be able to make it to England for the five-match Test series. No wonder he will be the backup opener on the tour but for now, Rahul should make sure that carries the responsibility of posting the big total on the board for his team. He is in great form and the management is hoping that he will continue in the same vein.

Ajinkya Rahane will have the extra responsibility of keeping things together in this match. He is one of the best batsmen of the current Indian side even with Kohli in the team. He brings the calmness to the line-up which is much needed during the certain sessions of the Test match and is certainly worthy of leading a side. The right-handed batsman has proved his credentials before as the leader against Australia when India famously defeated the visitors in Dharamsala.

Dinesh Karthik’s second coming to the international cricket has been a wonderful story over the last year. He has duly completed his comeback across all the formats by managing to find a place in the Test squad for this game. It is up to him now to cement his place now and play a crucial role for the team in the tough upcoming tours. No wonder Saha will be slotted in straight away after he is fit but Karthik has to do well in this match to travel to England as a backup wicketkeeper.

All-Rounder (Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja)

Both these players have already proved their mettle in the longest format of the game. It will be only about continuing in the same vein. Hardik was instrumental mostly with the ball in India’s stunning victory in the last Test match against South Africa. He has to improve his batting in whites and the youngster must be working on the same.

As far as Ravindra Jadeja is concerned, his left-arm spin bowling will be required more and he is definitely a threat due to his accurate lines. He is a kind of a bowler who thrives on flat pitches as well and in case the wicket at the Chinnaswamy Stadium is a rank-turner, Afghanistan will have to be very careful while facing Jadeja.

Bowlers (Ravi Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav)

Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the bowling attack as he is the undisputed king when it comes to the spinning the ball in Asia. He has added a few variations to his repertoire and it will be interesting to see if he unfurls those deliveries against Afghanistan batsmen. It goes without saying that he is a world-class bowler and a lot will depend on him if India are to wrap-up this Test match as expected on the winning side.

Ishant Sharma is a certainty to feature in this game after Mohammed Shami was ruled out the other day after failing to clear the fitness test. The lanky fast bowler has been plying his trade in the County cricket and has toppled the big names before joining the team for this Test match.

Umesh Yadav had a fantastic IPL season and his fiery pace will trouble the opposition. He brings the much-needed energy to the table and will be upbeat going into this game. It is important for him to perform and seal his place in the squad for the upcoming England tour. He will be dangerous with the new ball upfront and the visitors will be surely wary of his ability.

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