On February 19, the BCCI announced the squad for the two-match Test against Sri Lanka. With the Test Championship in mind, the selectors have decided to drop players such as Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, and Wriddhiman Saha from the 18-man squad. They included left-arm spinner, Saurabh Kumar, who has picked 196 first-class wickets.
The committee has decided to retain the likes of Jayant Yadav, and Shreyas Iyer, who didn’t play against South Africa in the Test series. Players such as Shubman Gill and Ravindra Jadeja are making their comebacks after recovering from their respective injuries. Here, we will discuss the probable playing XI which will take on the Lankans from March 4 in Mohali.
Probable playing XI of India
The newly-appointed Test skipper has established himself as one of the best opening batter after his masterclass against England last year. Sharma averages 58.48 as and opener in Tests.
He had a cold series with the bat against South Africa. However, he would be preferred to open the innings in the absence of KL Rahul. Also, his batting average of 83.90 in home conditions might keep him ahead of Shubman Gill.
Shubhman Gill/Priyank Panchal
Priyank Panchal might get to make his debut in Test cricket. He has been a prolific run-getter in domestic cricket averaging 45.52. Readers might argue that Shubman Gill is also in the ranks but his average of 26.30 at home might keep him out.
The former skipper will definitely play his 100th Test in Mohali. He will be fresh after the rest he will get before the series.
Shreyas Iyer/ Hanuma Vihari
It will be interesting to see which players get to play in Mohali. Iyer scored his maiden century against New Zealand last November. On the other hand, Vihari has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket, who has played only one game at home.
The left-hander is the preferred choice of the team in the last year given his ability to change the game with the bat and his improved keeping skills.
The all-rounder might switch places with Pant in the batting order. He has been one of the best batter in the team since his comeback in 2015.
Ravichandran Ashwin/ Jayant Yadav
Ashwin has been included in the team subjected to fitness. His experience will come in handy for the team. If he can’t recover, Jayant Yadav can also play as an off-spinner in the team if needed.
Kuldeep Yadav/Mohammed Siraj
The Chinaman bowler will add variety in the spin heavy attack. With the inclusion of two finger-spinners, the team would love to opt for the leg-spinner. However, if India want to go in with three pacers, they can play Mohammed Siraj
The lead pacer will come back after a break as he was rested against the West Indies and T20I series against Sri Lanka at home. He is sure to be play the game.
Like Bumrah, Shami is also coming off a break. However, he is coming off a longer break compared to Bumrah as he didn’t play the ODI series against South Africa. Both pacers will share the new ball.