Former Team India opener Gautam Gambhir has come up with his thoughts on the playing XI of the team for the first Test of the four-match series against England, starting from February 5.
The cricketer-turned-politician feels that India should go with five bowlers in any case and has backed Axar Patel as his choice of an all-rounder in absence of Ravindra Jadeja.
Gambhir feels Axar can provide a great batting option, and Ravi Ashwin along with him would be good to go in Chennai.
“Five bowlers, hundred per cent. I have always been a firm believer that India has to go in with five bowlers in any condition. So, probably Axar bats at No.7, it is a direct swap between Jadeja and Axar, Ashwin at No.8,” said Gambhir on Star Sports’ Game Plan.
“Ashwin will be really confident after what he did at the SCG, Axar can contribute with the bat. So, India needs about 350-odd runs, and they have got the bowling attack to get England out,” he added.
Gambhir said that he’d like to give rest to Jasprit Bumrah for the second Test, before playing him again in the third ‘pink-ball’ Test at the newly-renovated Motera Stadium.
The 39-year-old also showed faith in the opening pair of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. But, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya didn’t find any place in Gambhir’s playing XI.
Gautam Gambhir’s Playing XI for 1st Test:
Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj.