Test Cricket

India vs Australia 2023: 1st Test Nagpur Best Predicted Playing 11

Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith battle awaits as we look at the confirmed playing 11 for the 2023 India vs Australia 1st Test.  

February 09 marks the beginning of the final frontier of the World Test Championship with India taking on Australia in an all-important Border Gavaskar series. Both teams are at the pinnacle of the WTC 2021-23 points table with Australia being number 1 with a PCT of 75.56% and Team India being number 2 with a PCT of 58.93%.

Australia are almost in for the WTC final. All they have to do is draw a Test match vs India, and that would take them to a PCT higher than that of Sri Lanka and South Africa. If they lose 4-0, Australia would then hope for Sri Lanka to draw or lose one Test vs New Zealand. Meanwhile, for India, a couple of wins should guarantee them a top 2 spot. 

The first of four Tests shall be played in Nagpur, which is a spin paradise most often than not. While the focus will be on India’s spin trio, Axar, Ashwin, Jadeja and Nathan Lyon, the battle that also awaits is Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith – the modern-era G.O.A.T.S. in Test matches. While Virat would want to improve his subpar record vs Australia in India, Australia would be dependent on Steve Smith to tackle the spin.

Both teams shall be fighting for the top 2 spots in the WTC. While Australia are favourites to enter the WTC final, India are playing in their fortress, which is difficult to penetrate. Even as both have comfort on their side, neither of them will take the other lightly.

So, as we wait for the match to begin, let’s look at the predicted playing 11 for India vs Australia 1st Test match. Before that let’s look at the key match details. Meanwhile, as per the leading cricket website, Betway, Team India are one of the favourites to win the 1st Test match vs Australia with odds at 1.2.   

Match Details:

Tournament: Australia Tour of India 2023

Type: 1st Test

Where: Nagpur

When: February 09-13, 2023 

India vs Australia 2023 – Test Series Squad for Team India:

Batters: Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma [c], Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav & Virat Kohli

Wks: KS Bharat & Ishan Kishan

All-rounders: Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja

Bowlers: Jaydev Unadkat, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj & Umesh Yadav

Captain: Rohit Sharma // Vice-captain: KL Rahul

Team India’s Predicted Playing 11

The first Test match shall see Team India without their two best players of spin and their best frontline pacer. While India’s best-ranked batter Rishabh Pant has not been selected owing to his accident, Shreyas Iyer is ruled out of the first Test due to an injury. Whereas Jasprit Bumrah is still recovering from his injury at the NCA. 

However, India would be happy to see the return of three match winners, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami. The trio had missed the Bangladesh Test series, but will now make a comeback. So, with the trio missing out and another trio returning, the playing 11 does seem to change quite a bit. 

AS return of Captain Rohit Sharma shall mean one of KL Rahul or Shubman Gill may not open in the first Test. With KL Rahul being the vice-captain, we should see KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma opening the innings. However, this also gives an opportunity to Shubman Gill to play in the middle-order in the absence of injured Shreyas Iyer. 

Other than the above change, we should see KS Bharat making his debut in the first Test in the absence of Rishabh Pant. There’s Ishan Kishan too fighting for that spot, but the southpaw will have to wait for his chance as KS Bharat has been a first-choice backup for Rishabh Pant for quite some time now.

From the bowling perspective, we should see the trio of Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ravichandran Ashwin alongside pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj. There could be a discussion of playing Kuldeep Yadav ahead of Axar Patel with so many left handers, but that move looks unlikely for now. Whereas Siraj should be preferred above Umesh Yadav.  

Thoughtful Change

There is also a possibility of seeing attacking Suryakumar Yadav play at the number 5 position ahead of Shubman Gill. As we know, SKY plays spin quite well, and with his attacking instincts, he can fill the void created by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer. Team India can also ponder on this move, but for now, Shubman Gill seems a frontrunner being an experienced candidate. 

India vs Australia 2023 1st Test Predicted Playing 11 for India:

Rohit Sharma [c], KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat [wk], Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami & Mohammed Siraj

India vs Australia 2023 – Test Squad for Australia

Batters: David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Steve Smith, Travis Head & Usman Khawaja

WK: Alex Carey

All-rounders: Ashton Agar & Cameron Green

Bowlers: Josh Hazlewood, Lance Morris, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Scott Boland & Todd Murphy  

Captain: Pat Cummins // Vice-captain: Steve Smith

Australia’s Predicted Playing 11

For Australia, the main question shall be the selection of lower-order player. They have three options in the form of Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, and Cameron Green. Of the three, Cameron Green should have been the front-runner even if he won’t bowl in the match. However, with Green unable to regain fitness before 1st Test, we should see Matt Renshaw taking his place. 

Apart from the above discussion point, Australia team management would have a headache in selecting the second spinner. They have a few options in the form of Mitchell Swepson, Tod Murphy, and Ashton Agar. But with India having so many right-handers, it is all but natural to select left-arm spinner Ashton Agar as the second spin option. 

India vs Australia 2023 – 1st Test Predicted Playing 11 for Australia :

David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matt Renshaw, Alex Carey [wk], Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins [c], Nathan Lyon & Scott Boland

So, that’s about the best predicted playing 11 for both teams for India vs Australia 1st Test 2023. Overall, the match promises to be a blockbuster with the top two teams clashing against each other before the ultimate finale in June, later this year. Hopefully, we get an evenly matched contest instead of Australia surrendering at India’s fortress  

Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for Team India for the 2023 1st Test vs Australia? Please email your comments to business@cricalytics.com

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