India vs Windies, 1st Test- India Predicted XI

The home team is arguably the favourites, especially with the conditions favouring them.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja of India celebrates with teammates. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

India and the Windies are all set to lock horns in the two-match Test series, starting tomorrow. The first match is scheduled to be played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. The home team is arguably the favourites, especially with the conditions favouring them to a large extent. They would like to shed the disappointment of the England series and start with a positive approach.

On the contrary, the task for Jason Holder’s men to make Virat Kohli and Co sweat won’t be a cakewalk by any means. The Caribbean team’s record on Indian soil is dismal, to say the least as they last won a Test in the country way back in 1994 under the leadership of Courtney Walsh. In the meantime, we take you through India’s predicted playing eleven for the opening encounter.

Openers (Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul)

Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul are the opening batsmen. Both players were in England for the five-match Test series, but while Rahul played all the matches, Shaw couldn’t break into the eleven. However, the 18-year-old Shaw is all to get the taste of international cricket and would be keen to make a mark on a pitch, which is expected to be batting friendly.

Rahul, on the other hand, found his rhythm in the final Test of the erstwhile series at Kennington Oval where he notched his maiden Test ton on English soil. He would also be relieved for the reason that he made a comeback after poor outings in the first four contests. The 26-year-old’s performances would definitely be closely watched by the selectors.

Middle-order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk))

Cheteshwar Pujara was one of India’s most in-form batsmen against England and he would dearly want to put his best foot forward in front of his home crowd. Virat Kohli, the captain, remains to be the fulcrum of the batting unit and it won’t be surprising if the Windies have already earmarked the Delhi-born batsman as the most prized Indian wicket.

Ajinkya Rahane didn’t have the best of series in England having floundered with the willow on most occasions. He needs to get some substantial scores under his belt in order to save himself from going further into the slump. Rishabh Pant is the designated wicketkeeper and the onus will also be on the 20-year-old to make a contribution in the middle.

All-rounder (Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja)

Ravichandran Ashwin recently passed the fitness test after he developed a hip injury during the England series. Apart from his prowess to bamboozle batsmen with his off-breaks, his ability to wield the willow can’t be undermined by any stretch of the imagination.

Ravindra Jadeja has had a decent time for the last month. After being benched for the first four matches against the Brits, he got an opportunity in the final Test and he grabbed it with both hands. On slow and low wickets in India, Jadeja is expected to pose a threat.

Bowlers (Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami)

Umesh Yadav played only the first Test at Edgbaston but was sidelined thereafter. He hasn’t been amongst the wickets in the domestic circuit for his team Vidarbha but will be expected to make the new ball count for the home team with some early wickets.

Kuldeep Yadav took part in the Lord’s Test, but was sent home to play for India ‘A’. In his short international career, he has been effective with the leather, especially on sub-continent conditions. Mohammed Shami is the other member of the bowling department.

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