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IND vs AUS 1st Test, Nagpur: Major star to miss out? Gill in middle order? Here is India's probable playing 11

Here is India's probable playing 11 for the 1st Test against Australia at Nagpur. While the bowling, with the likes of Ashwin, Shami and Siraj looks settled, there are a few questions that the management will need to address in both the departments.

Kartik Mehindru Written By: Kartik Mehindru @mehindrukartik New Delhi Updated on: February 08, 2023 11:58 IST
India's probable playing 11 vs Australia
Image Source : GETTY India's probable playing 11 vs Australia

Well, it's almost time! The much-awaited 4-match series is just a day away, and if the previous few editions are anything to go by, we can expect the series to be an absolute cracker. Both teams, in all probality, would have decided on their team combinations by now. So, before the official playing 11 comes in, here is what we think India's team combination would like. 

  • Top Order: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara

Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice as an opener and he is the captain of the side. Shubmam Gill might play in the middle order, but looking at his current form, the position he usually bats at shouldn't really be tinkered with. Pujara, will be the backbone of this line-up and will be expected to do what he does best. Bat and bat and bat. In 37 innings, Pujara has accumulated 1893 runs at an average of 54 and a strike rate of 42. He also has five 100s and 10 fifties against his name, with the highest score of 204. 

  • Middle Order: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, KS Bharat

Virat Kohli's place isn't really up for debate and he has got a terrific record vs Australia. He has accumulated 1682 runs at an average of 48 and a strike rate of 52. He also has seven centuries and five fifties against his name. KL Rahul is the vice captain of the team, and since Gill is opening, Rahul, like in limited-overs, should bat in the middle order.

KS Bharat has been with the team for a long time as Rishabh Pant's backup so it is only fair for him to get a go ahead of Ishan Kishan. Although Kishan might make his debut during the series, Bharat is expected to start. 

  • All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja

Jadeja may pip Axar Patel and in all probability be the team's first choice spin all-arounder, The decision, however isn't really as straightforward as it sounds. Take a look. 

Axar's Batting Record

  • Innings: 13
  • Runs: 249
  • Average: 22
  • Strike Rate: 51
  • 100s: 0 
  • 50s: 1
  • Best: 52

Axar's Bowling Record

  • Innings: 16
  • Wickets: 47
  • Economy: 2.31
  • Best: 6/38

Jadeja's Batting Record

  • Innings: 16
  • Runs: 569
  • Average: 38
  • Strike Rate: 51
  • 100s: 2
  • 50s: 2
  • Best: 175*

Jadeja's Bowling Record

  • Innings: 17
  • Wickets: 22
  • Economy: 2.33
  • Best: 5/41

Looking at the records, it isn't that simple now, is it? Axar has way ahead of Jadeja in terms of bowling, but so is Jadeja when it comes to batting. The team management will have to decide which skillset they prefer more and then go ahead with the decision. While it seems like a far-fetched call that both of them will play together, if the team decides to go on that route, the batting will wear an invincible look. 

Bowlers: Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami

The bowling duties will be shared by Ashwin, Kuldeep, Shami & Siraj, with Jadeja being the spin all-rounder. Ashwin has always been terrific in IndiaIn 16 innings against Aussies at home, Ashwin has scalped 50 wickets at an economy of 2.48 and an average of 23.16. His best figures stand at 7/103. Kuldeep, since returining has been in terrific form and will add variety to the spin attack. Siraj and Shami will handle the pace department. 

Shami has played quite a few games vs Kangaroos and has had a reasonable amount of success against them. He has taken 31 wickets at an economy of 3.55, and has more often than not, delivered with the new as well as the old ball.Siraj doesn't have the same level of experience as Shami, having played 9 fewer innings than him. But, he too, has had a good time against Australia, picking up 13 wickets in 6 innings at an economy of 2.85. But irrespective of experience, Siraj has been in red hot form, and that was pretty evident in the series against New Zealand. 

The game starts at 9:30 AM IST on Feb 9. 

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