The upcoming tour of Australia holds a great significance for team India. Not only this will be the first international series after lockdown but the series will also test team India’s bench strength and character.
The tour which commences on 27th November with a T20I might witness two Indian playing XIs being fielded on the same day. As per the tour’s itinerary, team India will play two games simultaneously after 14-day quarantine. While the T20 XI will play first T20I against team Australia, Test XI will play a four-day practice match against Australia A.
The team management is bound to face some selection dilemma for the two concurrent matches. While the specialists in both formats are certainty in respective XIs, selectors have to pick among players like Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and more.
With the series approaching quickly, here are our picks for both XIs –
Opening Combination: With Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul as openers in Test match squad, Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, in all likelihood, will form the opening pair in practice match. On the other hand, Shikhar Dhawan or Sanju Samson might partner KL at the top for T20I.
Middle Order: With Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubhman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari present in Test squad, they will form the batting core at 3, 4, 5 and 6 in practice Test match. On the other hand, Captain Virat Kohli along with Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya forming the No.3, 4, 5 and 6 in T20I. Sanju Samson might also get a chance in the XI, if management feels uniformity in the batting styles of Kohli, Iyer and Pandey.
Wicket Keeper batsman: After his heroics on New Zealand tour earlier this year, KL Rahul is all set to don gloves in T20Is. On the other hand, Wriddhiman Saha might be preferred over Rishabh Pant in Test setup.
The all-rounder spot: With Hardik Pandya not bowling and Ravindra Jadeja proving his worth at No.7 in recent times, he looks a certainty in T20I playing XI. And in practice Test match, Kuldeep Yadav can fill in for Jadeja. However, if selectors think otherwise, Washington Sundar or Varun Chakravarthy might play T20I instead of Jadeja.
The Bowling department: With Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini looking all set to start in first XI for T20I, Mohammad Shami along with either of Mohammad Siraj or Umesh Yadav will form the fast bowling arsenal in practice Test match. As far as second spinner in concerned, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Ashwin are certainties in T20Is and Test match respectively.
India’s likely T20I XI: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey/Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja/ Washington Sundar/Varun Chakravarthy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar
India’s likely practice Test match XI: Ajinkya Rahane (Captian), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubhman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav/Mohd. Siraj Kuldeep Yadav/ Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin