The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Wednesday, named India's playing XI for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia in Adelaide, with Wriddhiman Saha handed the wicket-keeping duty ahead of Rishabh Pant.
The team has decided to go with three pacers in Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, while Ravichandran Ashwin remains their only spinner. Young Prithvi Shaw will open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal, while the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will form a strong middle-order. Hanuman Vihari, on the other hand, will bat at the no. six.
“Prithvi has performed at the Test level but he would be playing in Australia for the first time. I think it is very exciting to see his progress as well,” Kohli said in the pre-match virtual press-conference.
“Mayank did well here when he last came during the 2018-19 series. It is exciting to have young guys in the field, you can literally tell them to enjoy their skillsets in the middle,” he added.
While talking about his team selection earlier, Kohli mentioned how difficult it is going to be to find a place for KL Rahul. Rahul was exceptional in the white-ball series for India but has missed out on the starting place in 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," Kohli said.
"KL was brought into the side understanding that we do have opening options already, and when we have Rohit (Sharma) back, we have another established opener who is going to start. So, KL, where and how he fits in is a conversation we have to monitor closely."
India vs Australia pink-ball Test will begin on Thursday, December 17, at the Adelaide Oval.
India’s playing XI for 1st Test against Australia:
Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Indranil Mukherjee