Team India expected to return to full strength as we look at the predicted Test squad for the 2021 home series vs England.
Please note, BCCI has announced the official squad for the first two Tests vs England.
Here are the details: India vs England 2021: BCCI announces the Official Test Squad.
Team India are currently nursing so many injuries that the current Test squad that is playing against Australia in Australia can actually be called as Team India’s B squad. Even then the performance that Ajinkya Rahane led team is giving is quite phenomenal. They are currently levelled 1-1 against Aussies, and it is quite possible India might retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Nevertheless, the list of injuries for Team India currently includes Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini & Umesh Yadav. Out of these players, only Vihari and Jadeja carry major injury concerns, and they may miss the initial few matches vs England with rest being back.
While the ongoing Gabba Test is important, the 2021 Home Test series vs England is going to be extremely important for Team India if they have to stay alive in the ICC World Test Championship. Team India need to win 4 of their remaining 5 matches, and hence would need all their injured players to return back for England series so that they can play a full-strength squad.
Hence, hoping we have all the players are fit, let’s look at the predicted Test series squad for Team India for the 2021 Home series vs England
Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma & Shubman Gill
The opening combination for Team India has seen drastic changes during the Australia tour. While Mayank and Shaw started as the first-choice openers for Team India, the series is ending with two new openers, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill with Mayank Agarwal being pushed to the middle-order.
Looking at the current crop of openers for Team India, Prithvi Shaw is most-likely to be axed having performed poorly and Technical flaws being exposed. Moreover, India can afford only a maximum of 3 openers. In this scenario, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, and Shubman Gill should see themselves as the first-choice openers for Team India.
Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara & Virat Kohli (C)
Virushka (Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma) are currently celebrating the birth of their first child currently, but Virat should be back to lead the squad for the England series. Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara shall continue to be the strength of pillar in the middle-order.
Team India can also think of including KL Rahul to play the dual role of Middle-order and opener. But, that would mean India will have to exclude Mayank or remove an additional bowler, which they can’t afford. Hence, as the history has seen, 7 batsmen and 2 all-rounders combination seem ideal for Team India vs England.
Rishabh Pant & Wriddhiman Saha
Team India had surprised everyone when Wriddhiman Saha was played ahead of Rishabh Pant in the first Test match of the Australia tour, even when the latter has been the first-choice keeper in Test matches in SENA countries over the years. However, Team India rightly corrected that, and Pant was then given a run of 3 matches against Australia.
When it comes to two primary wicket-keepers for Home series vs England, India have no other option but Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant. While Rishabh Pant is an excellent batsman, his keeping in India against quality spinners is still a question mark. So, who gets the nod in the final XI is still an area of uncertainty for Team India.
Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja
Hanuma Vihari’s performance in the first two matches against Australia meant he was under the scanner in the third Test match. However, he responded brilliantly with a gritty 23(161) that helped India draw the match; all of that when he playing with a Grade 2 hamstring tear. In all likelihood, Vihari should be back in the squad if he recovers from the injury.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin would not only be the two leading spinners of the squad, they would also play a major role by giving valuable runs down the order. In all likelihood, they should play at 7 and 8 respectively in all the matches. However, If Jadeja doesn’t recover, India can think of adding Washington Sundar to the squad as a backup spinner all-rounder.
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami & Umesh Yadav
The bowling contingent has seen the most number of injuries during and ahead of the Australia tour. The current crop of bowlers that comprises Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and T Natarajan are all second-choice options for Team India as compared to their first-choice contingent of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah.
Now, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah should definitely be back for the England series, whereas the recoveries of Umesh and Shami is not known as yet. If these two do not recover in time, Siraj and Natarajan should get a nod as the third and fourth pacer. But, as the first-choice pacers, it should be the quartet of Shami, Ishant, Bumrah, and Umesh.
So, that completes the predicted Test squad for Team India for the 2021 Home Series vs England. From the predicted 16, currently, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav’s selection looks dicey.
India vs England 2021: Team India’s Predicted First-choice Test Squad
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Umesh Yadav & Wriddhiman Saha (WK).
|Batsmen||Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (C) & Wriddhiman Saha (WK)|
|All-rounders||Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja|
|Bowlers||Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami & Umesh Yadav|
KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, and Navdeep Saini.
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