KL Rahul likely to open with Rohit Sharma for India in first Test

KL Rahul ‘recovering well’ at NCA. (PC Twitter)

Trent Bridge: After suffering a disappointing defeat in the recently concluded World Test Championship final against New Zealand last month, India will be looking for a fresh start when they square of against England in the first game of the five-match Test series, starting on Wednesday at Trent Bridge.

The match will also be the curtain-raiser of the second edition of WTC as Virat Kohli’s men are in search of their first Test series victory on English soil since 2007. India doesn’t have the best of the stats going overseas but a positive for the side though is the triumph of the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Australia earlier this year.

As for the squads, India got a couple of blows as both the openers Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal have suffered injuries and are ruled out of the first Test. KL Rahul will likely squeeze into the opening slot with Rohit Sharma. A major concern is a dip in form of skipper Virat Kohli who since 2020 has only made 345 runs at an average of 24.64.

However, on his side’s last visit to England, Kohli piled up an impressive 593 runs which will be a boost for his morale going into the game. India are likely go with four pacers considering the seaming and overcast conditions with one of Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur being the option. Although the latter will provide a bit of batting depth Siraj’s ability to swing the ball will most likely be preferred.

England on the other hand will eye avenge their 1-3 defeat in the sub-continent earlier this year with the conditions speaking in favor of them. The missing of allrounder Ben Stokes will prove pivotal as someone who could be a game-changer on a given day. The seaming duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad can run havoc on any batting line-up if they are on a song with the former having a good history against the Indian batters alongside the pace and bounce of Mark Wood.

Haseeb Hameed who had his memorable debut against India five years back is also included in the squad after his recent domestic performance. Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are the two key players as most of the players in the batting order are relatively in their earlier years in the international arena.

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav.

England squad: Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton.