India's Test rivalry with England will resume relatively soon. The Indians will have played the World Test Championship final against New Zealand by the time this series gets underway. England will very much be in preparation for the Ashes series against Australia later this year.
Both will be looking to fine-tune their preferred XI for specific conditions, especially India. Here is what their XI could look like for the first Test against the English at Trent Bridge in Nottingham in early August 2021.
Openers: Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma
The pair of Gill and Sharma will likely be retained at the top of the order. Sharma was solid during the home series against England earlier this year. He is a good, experienced foil to the learning Gill, whose inexperience showed in bursts. For the most part, though, Gill seems to have the temperament to succeed at the Test level in the future. Sharma is a masterful limited-overs batsman, but his authority at the helm of the Test order has been questioned by fans, critics, and pundits alike. He largely quietened that talk by averaging almost 60 against England in the last Test series.
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane
The trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane should make for a formidable combination after the openers. All three are relative experts at successfully combating the swing and seam movement expected in the United Kingdom. They'll likely keep an eye on England's preceding Test series against New Zealand.
This will give them a solid view on what to anticipate from the opposition bowlers and pitches when it's their turn to face Joe Root's men. Kohli, who Pakistan captain Babar Azam is appropriately a huge fan of, will surely aim to repeat his heroics in 2021 from the last time India faced England in their own backyard.
England, incidentally, is priced at 2.0 with some sites for online betting in Pakistan to win the series against the Kiwis. The same firm is likely to place them superior to the Indians when the outright markets for that series. Pujara, Kohli, and Rahane, though, could have a big say in the tourists beating the odds.
Wicketkeeper: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has brought a superb dynamic to the Indian Test XI. He has effectively pushed himself ahead of all other Indian wicketkeeper-batsman in terms of Test selection. His work behind the stumps is sound and the combative fashion in which he takes to Test match betting is entertaining and fruitful.
All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja
India will need a secondary spinner in the XI, even if the conditions in the UK will be most conducive to seam. Jadeja is near perfect for the berth, as he offers hefty value with the bat and is a complementary force to the role of primary spinner Ashwin.
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Spinner: Ravichandran Ashwin
Ashwin has plenty of experience at the Test level and will welcome this big challenge against England2021. The veteran off-spinner has plenty of variations up his sleeve that make him a handful to manage for most batting orders. Root and company will really need to do their homework in order to succeed against him.
“It's a fabulous effort for Ashwin to have become the second-fastest bowler to reach 400 Test match wickets. He is a very smart bowler, who knows exactly how to get the best out of the conditions that he is given both home and away. He's got so much variety and so much control to go with it. He's been marvelous in all formats and I suspect he has plenty more in the tank to become one of their all-time great bowlers,” the former captain said of Ashwin recently.
Seamers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
India will be pleased to have their seam attack back at full strength, even if Mohammed Siraj and other pretenders were outstanding the last time they were in England for a Test series. Sharma will bring that metronomic line and length, Shami the extra pace, and Bumrah that brilliant penetration of his.