India vs England 2021: India's Predicted Playing XI against England for the 1st Test

India vs England 2021: India’s Predicted Playing XI against England for the 1st Test

Keeping the recent form aside, India will start the series as firm favourites.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

With so much at stake in the upcoming four-match Test series between India and England, both teams will be keen to make a winning start. The two giants of world cricket will resume their Test rivalry from February 5 in Chennai. The second Test will be held at the same venue before Ahmedabad hosts the next two games.

The series will be the last assignment in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship for both sides. Both the teams are still in contention to book their place in the final of the championship. India needs to win the series by at least a 2-1 margin or collect 70 points to make it to the final. On the other hand, England needs to win at least three matches or collect 85 points to seal their place in the final.

India and England will have their confidence high after registering remarkable series wins last month. India registered a monumental come-from-behind Test series win in Australia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. England, on the other hand, whitewashed Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series in their own backyard.

Keeping the recent form aside, India will start the series as firm favourites. Having not lost a Test series at home since 2012, the Virat Kohli-led side has looked almost invincible at home. The hosts will definitely love to continue their strong run at home in the upcoming series. So as the hosts gear up for another series at home, we are taking a look at India’s playing XI for the series-opener.

India’s Playing XI vs England for the 1st Test:

Openers: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill 

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

While senior opener Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice in the eleven, Shubman Gill is also set to retain his place in the team after his heroics in Australia. After making his debut in the second Test at the MCG, the youngster scored 259 runs with the help of two fifties including the 91-run knock in the Gabba Test that helped India chase down 328.

Rohit, on the other hand, will be looking to register a big score. The right-handed batsman, who missed the first two Tests in Australia because of injury and the quarantine, got the starts but failed to capitalize on them. With the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw as well as KL Rahul waiting in the wings, Rohit will be keen to perform well in order to ease the pressure off himself.

Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane 

Virat Kohli captain of India
Virat Kohli captain of India. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

With Virat Kohli returning to the team, India’s middle-order will have a familiar look. Cheteshwar Pujara is set to bat at number three and will be followed by Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane at number four and five respectively. Kohli had missed the last three Tests in Australia due to paternity leave. The batting star was the highest run-scorer in the last two Test series between India and England and will be eyeing a similar performance this time too.

Pujara will be looking for a productive season too after failing to score big in Australia. While the right-handed batsman played an integral role in India’s win, he could not score any century. As far as Rahane is concerned, the India vice-captain’s only notable knock came in the second Test when he scored a century.

Wicketkeeper and all-rounder: Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar 

Rishabh Pant of India celebrates victory
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Rishabh Pant is looking set to retain his place in the playing eleven after his starring role in Australia. Usually, India have preferred the ever-reliable Wriddhiman Saha in home Tests because of his wicketkeeping but Pant looks set to get the nod this time around after impressing in Australia. The highly-rated wicketkeeper did well with the wicketkeeping gloves and did extremely well with the bat. He scored 97 in the third Test to help India salvage a draw before playing a match-winning knock of 89 not out in the last game.

With Ravindra Jadeja out of the series due to an injury, Washington Sundar is likely to retain his place in the playing eleven. Sundar made his Test debut during the fourth game in Australia and made an instant impression. He picked up three wickets in the first innings before scoring 62. In the second innings, he picked up another wicket in addition to playing a 22-run knock.

Bowlers: Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

India are likely to play two fast-bowlers and two spinners in the series-opener. Jasprit Bumrah is set to play his first Test at home and is likely to have Ishant Sharma as his partner. Sharma missed the Test series in Australia due to an injury. In his absence, the likes of Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur did well in Australia but he is likely to get the nod.

Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the spin department. The other bowler is likely to be Kuldeep Yadav. Axar Patel is also in the team but Kuldeep looks set to get the nod for at least the first Test.