Former India opener Wasim Jaffer picked India's playing XI ahead of the first Test against England, starting from February 5 in Chennai.
For the opening duo, Jaffer went with Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Gill, after replacing a struggling Prithvi Shaw in Australia, had an impressive stint with the bat where he scored 259 runs in three Tests including a match-winning 91 at The Gabba.
Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were named in the middle-order, while Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin are the two spinners included in the side.
According to Jaffer, Axar can leave his mark as English batsmen tend to struggle against left-arm spinners.
India's pace attack will be headed by Jasprit Bumrah while between Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj, the best should be picked depending upon the pitch, according to Jaffer. The same goes with Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur.
"India's Playing XI for 1st Test (imo): 1 Rohit 2 Gill 3 Pujara 4 Kohli 5 Rahane 6 Pant 7 Axar* 8 Ashwin 9 Kuldeep/Thakur 10 Ishant/Siraj 11 Bumrah. Question is about 2 spots depending on combination + pitch. What''s your XI? *Eng have huge weakness vs left-arm spin. #INDvENG," Jaffer tweeted.
India and England will play four Tests. The first two matches will be held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai (Feb 5-9 and Feb 13-17) while the next two will be held in Ahmedabad (Feb 24-28 and Mar 4-8).