India and England will face each other in a five-match Test series, which will start from August 4 in Nottingham. The Indians are currently on a break in the UK and will reassemble in a few days’ time for a pre-match Test camp. There are also likely to get a couple of county games as practice, if all goes well. Both India and England were disappointing in their previous assignments. While the Indians lost to New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC), England also went down to the Kiwis in a two-match Test series. With India and England getting ready to take on each other, we put together a combined India-England Test XI.
With England weak in the batting department, Rohit Sharma is the best bet as an opener from either side. He looked good in both innings of the WTC final but could not convert his starts. Rohit has an impressive average of 46.18 after 39 Tests. However, the England series could be a defining moment of his Test career considering his poor away record in the format.
England opener Rory Burns has had a middling Test career so far. He averages 33.23 after 25 Test matches. However, he was England’s best batsman in the disappointing series against New Zealand with scores of 132 and 81. He would open with Rohit in the combined XI.
England captain Joe Root gets the nod ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara in the combined XI. Pujara has been woefully out of form in the last few months. Root got a double hundred against India in his 100th Test but hasn’t been among the big runs since in the longer-formats. He did get a couple of 40s in the Lord’s Test though.
Virat Kohli (captain)
He may not have got a hundred in a while but Kohli would still come in at No. 4 on the weight of his reputation and would also lead the combined eleven based on his overall record as a captain. Kohli looked good in the first innings of the WTC final but failed to carry on. He, however, excelled during India’s tour of England in 2018.
Given his recent record, which has been rather disappointing, barring the hundred in the MCG Test, Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t seem like a deserving name in the combined XI. But given the fact that England have inexperienced names like Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence in their middle-order, Rahane seems the better choice.
Rishabh Pant (wk)
It was a tough tussle between young Rishabh Pant and experienced Jos Buttler for the wicketkeeper’s slot. Both are match-winners with the bat on their day. However, given his recent form, Pant gets the nod over Buttler in the combined XI. He has scored runs wherever he has played and has a Test hundred in England as well.
Ravindra Jadeja is one of the best all-rounders in the business today, across formats. However, if there is a choice between him and Ben Stokes, the England cricketer would win the race hands down. The latter has greater versatility, which means he can deliver the goods irrespective of the conditions.
Of all the spin options available in the two camps, Ravichandran Ashwin is undoubtedly the most competent. He proved himself in Australia, was unplayable at home against England and impressed in the limited opportunities in the WTC final. He has found some batting rhythm back as well.
England pacer Stuart Broad will be one of the faster men in the combined XI. He was the team’s best bowler in the series against New Zealand. His amazing record speaks for itself, which is why he keeps out an Indian fast bowler.
He is 38 and still going strong. James Anderson recently claimed 1000 first-class wickets in a county game and ended up picking seven wickets in that innings. The England legend just seems to go on and on. He will make it to most combined XIs, leave alone India-England.
There was some competition between Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami for the third seamer’s slot. Ishant has been in and out with injury though while Bumrah has been out of form in recent games. He, in fact, went wicketless in the WTC final. Shami has been the one who has delivered results consistently and so finds a place as one of the fast bowlers.