Australia vs India 2020: Rishabh Pant to be preferred as the wicket-keeper as we look at the preview and Predicted Playing 11 for the first Test.
|Occasion||First Pink Ball Test, Australia vs India|
|Date & Time||December 17, 9:30 am IST|
With the ODI and T20I series result levelled at 1-1, It is almost time for final and Team India’s toughest hurdle of the tour, the Test Series. The last time India played in Australia, India created history by winning their first-ever Test series by defeating Australia 2-1. However, Australia were weak on batting front then with David Warner and Steve Smith missing.
This time though, the big news for Team India is that Virat Kohli won’t be available from the second Test match onwards. While the good news is that Virat Kohli would be playing the Pink ball Test match at Adelaide, but his captaincy and batting can be a huge blow to the Indian team once he departs. Also to note, Rohit Sharma shall be back for the third and final Test match, which is a big plus.
Nevertheless, Team India would be facing a lot of selection dilemma before the first Test match. For starters, 3-4 places are up for grabs. The second opener slot, the wicket-keeper, the lower-order batsman, and the third pacer are all undecided. However, the good thing is that Practice games have given us an indication of what could be the likely 11 for the 1st Test.
So, with Steve Smith, David Warner back in the squad, and Labuschagne at his peak, will Team India be able to retain the trophy? Well, only time can tell. Meanwhile, let’s look at the predicted playing 11 of both the teams for the first Test.
Team India’s Test squad for the Tour of Australia:
Virat Kohli (C), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, and Mohd. Siraj.
Predicted Playing 11 – Team India
Openers: Mayank Agarwal & Shubman Gill
Even before the squad for the Test series was announced, Mayank Agarwal was Team India’s first-choice opener in Tests. He has been phenomenal last year scoring over 700 runs, and averaging over 65. It was here in Australia in 2018 series that he began his Test career. Since then, it has been no turning back for Mayank.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill shall be competing for the second opener spot. Ever since his injury, Shaw has had poor returns in all the matches he has played so far. Be it New Zealand Tests, IPL 2020, or the recent practice matches, Shaw has been struggling for form due to his poor technique and mindset.
Whereas Gill’s solid technique has given good returns so far. He has been consistent in IPL, and in the practice matches too. Moreover, Gill can also play in the middle-order once RO is back and Kohli flies back to India. Hence, in the current scenario, it would only be wise to go for Shubman Gill over Prithvi Shaw.
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C) & Ajinkya Rahane (VC)
The middle-order trio shall see the regular Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane continuing at number 3, 4, and 5 respectively. In Pink ball conditions, these guys would be Team India’s backbone if India have to do well in the Adelaide Test. In the Adelaide Test during the last tour, Pujara gave a match-winning knock, and thus he would want to continue his golden form in this series too.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha. That’s the most-important question Team India would be facing ahead of the Adelaide Test. Ever since New Zealand series started, Rishabh Pant has been struggling to get going; even in the Tournament, he has performed the best, the IPL.
However, Rishabh Pant has been preferred over Saha in overseas Tests, and his recent attacking century in practice games is just another Testimonial of why he is such an important member of the squad. Even though Saha is a more potent keeper, the need of the hour is a batsman-keeper and not keeper-batsman, and hence Pant might get a go.
All-rounders: Hanuma Vihari & Ravichandran Ashwin
At number 6, it has to be Hanuma Vihari, who has been a regular member of the Indian side, and even in recent Practice match he struck a solid century. Moreover, his part-time off-spin can be an asset on Day 3, 4, and 5 alongside giving those valuable make-shift overs.
With Ravindra Jadeja yet to recover, Ravichandran Ashwin should play as the leading spinner all-rounder of the squad. Apart from his crucial overs, Ashwin can also add a lot of value as a batsman, which is very necessary for the first Test match.
Bowlers: Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami & Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami would lead the pace bowling attack in pink ball conditions. However, in the absence of Ishant Sharma, one of Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, or Mohammed Siraj should get a nod as the team’s third pacer.
Looking at the seniority, and how these pacers have performed in the practice matches, Umesh Yadav should get the nod as the team’s third pacer. The only thing which Umesh would have to take care of is his wayward line in overseas pitches. Additionally, his valuable hitting down the order can be a big asset to the team.
So, that completes the predicted playing 11 for Team India for the first Pink ball Test match at Adelaide.
Australia vs India 2020: Predicted 11 for Team India for first Test:
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah.
For Australia, the question would be the selection of their openers. Joe Burns is struggling for form and Marcus Harris isn’t their preferred opener in the squad. With Cameron Green showing immense maturity in the practice games, Australia can draft Matthew Wade as the opener, and play one of Marcus Harris and Joe Burns as the opener. To note that, Tim Paine has indicated at Wade-Burns combo for the first Test.
Australia vs India 2020: Predicted 11 for Australia for first Test:
Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Tim Paine (C&WK), Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood.
Thanks for reading! What’s your predicted 11 for India vs Australia first Test? Please, let us know in the comments below.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.