India have announced their playing eleven for the first Test of the Border Gavaskar series starting tomorrow through their official website. In a surprise move opening batsman Prithvi Shaw gets the nod ahead of Shubman Gill, who performed well in the practice matches. In the wicket-keeping department, veteran and experienced gloveman Wriddhiman Saha gets preferred over young Rishabh Pant, who has terrific overseas records.
India’s playing XI for the first Test is as follows: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
This selection has raised a few eyebrows. While the selection of Umesh Yadav and Hanuma Vihar was quite obvious considering their performance in the practice matches, the selection of Saha and Shaw over Pant and Gill has raised questions. A better wicket-keeping skill is the only valid reason for Saha's inclusion as Pant hasn't been that good behind the stumps in recent years. But the quick-fire century that he scored in the practice match against Australia A and his terrific overseas records were expected to make things simpler for him.
Ever since Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the first two Tests, India's opening combination was the most talked about topic. Three of India's brightest young batsmen- Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, and KL Rahul were in contention to open with Mayank Agarwal. Shaw had sores of 0, 19, 40, 3 across 4 innings that he played against Australia A in the practice matches prior to the Test series, whereas Gill had scores of 0, 29, 43, 65 in the same. Gill looked the most settled out of the two in the practice matches, but a need to give a consistent run of chances to Shaw after his incredible debut and a move to fit in Gill in the middle order after Kohli's departure after the first Test are possibly the only valid reasons to support this unsuasual selection call from BCCI.