India have named their playing XI for their first Test against Australia, which is to be played on Thursday. The Virat Kohli-led side has gone with Prithvi Shaw over Shubman Gill, besides also selecting Wriddhiman Saha over Rishabh Pant. India has ignored Shubhman Gill, which seems a bit harsh on the young lad as He went on to get scores of 43 and 65 against Australia A in the three-day D/N tour game. Gill looked positive and played some stunning shots against the Aussie pacers. One expected Gill to make the cut and open the innings alongside Mayank.


The Aussies will come hard at the Indians and Shaw is a weak link. He got scores of 0, 19, 40, and 3 in the two practice games against Australia A. Prior to that, he had a poor IPL campaign. He also struggled in three of the four innings against New Zealand in the Test series earlier this year. Rishabh Pant is another player who would have expected to be in the starting XI. He scored a brisk 103* in the second innings of the D/N practice game. However, one feels Saha got the nod due to his keeping. On the bowling front, India went with experience. Shami and Bumrah lead the line, with Umesh providing support. Ace spinner R Ashwin will have a crucial role to play as well. Earlier, skipper Kohli had made hinted that KL Rahul might not play the first Test. “It all boils down to combination. KL is obviously a quality player. We’ll have to see what combination suits the balance of the side the best. Everyone is playing well, feeling good. We have a lot of quality players. Someone like a Hanuma Vihari as well, has been very solid. He’s someone who has a lot of grit and character as well.”

“Prithvi has performed at the Test level, but will be playing in Australia for the first time. Very exciting to see his progress as well. Mayank came to the tour last time and played brilliantly without any baggage. That’s the brand of cricket we want youngsters to play, play fearless cricket and read situations for the team. He said. “It’s exciting to have young guys in the team. You can literally just tell them to go there and enjoy their skill-sets and capitalise when they have opportunities, and let senior guys take the responsibility, pressure and load of a full Test series.” He added


Team India playing XI: Virat Kohli (c), Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

By Arvind Krishnan

Cricket writer, statistician and analyst. An unorthodox media student, marketing runs in his blood. Sports Marketer and analyst.