- 1st Test tip-off XI: IND likely to opt for a three pacers-two spinners bowling attack
While Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are likely to be the two spinners in the XI, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur are expected to be the pace options India opt for.
After losing the three-match ODI series 2-1 to Bangladesh, India will look to start the two-match Test series with a win as the two teams meet at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram. With World Test Championship points at stake, the series marks two of the six games left in the 2021/23 cycle for India, who are fourth in the nine-team points tally. Bangladesh on the other hand lie at the bottom of the table.
Even before the series began, India have had injury issues to deal with as captain Rohit Sharma had to fly back home following a thumb injury during the ODI series. While the BCCI medical team has removed his name from the squad for the first Test, per the board his situation would be monitored ahead of the second match. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and pacer Mohammed Shami, who were dealing with knee and shoulder injury respectively, have been ruled out of the entire series after not having recovered yet.
The bowling composition
With the surface in Bangladesh assisting spinners, the big question for India would be if they wish to opt for two spinnners or three. Ravinchandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are likely to be the first choice slow bowlers in the XI whereas it is probable that the visitors include three quicks in their bowling lineup. Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur, who also adds to the team’s batting, very much look like fitting the bill for the same.
Gill and Rahul to open together
At the beginning of 2021, Shubman Gill had earned his place as India’s red-ball opener after a fabulous debut series in Australia. Six months later, KL Rahul would take that spot during India’s tour of England. With India’s full time captain out of the first match, stand-in skipper Rahul and Gill present themselves as the first choice opening combination. In the pre-series presser, Rahul would give the 23-year-old a big shoutout, “How he’s transformed and how he is getting better at his game is wonderful to see. I think Test matches, whenever he has got the opportunity he has done the job for the team. He’s young but he has a temperament for the longer format or whatever format he plays.”
Squads: Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mominul Haque, Anamul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan(c), Litton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Nurul Hasan, Yasir Ali, Zakir Hasan, Rejaur Rahman Raja
India: Shubman Gill, KL Rahul(c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Srikar Bharat, Navdeep Saini, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Saurabh Kumar