So finally the wait is over and India has announced its team for the Boxing Day Test against Australia, starting on Saturday. So as expected, India has gone with a host of changes — four. Youngsters Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj will make their debut in the key encounter, while Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant too have forced their way into the team. The key player to miss out is KL Rahul.
While India had a couple of forced changes, after Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami were unavailable for the rest of the series, Wriddhiman Saha and Prithvi Shaw have been axed on the back of some poor performances. Also many were expecting one more change, Rahul to come in place of Hanuma Vihari, who too hasn’t been at his best.
Gill, so far he hasn’t had great success in limited-overs formats, but the Punjab batsman is hailed as the next big thing in Tests. Something special would be expected from him in the time of need. It will be interesting to see where he gets to bat in the team.
Siraj, on the other hand has been the find from the domestic circuit, where he has picked up wickets in the Ranji Trophy in heaps, and has been the best bowler there. But he is yet to prove his mettle. With the limited opportunities, he has got in white-ball cricket, he has failed to deliver.
The inclusion of Pant could change things up for Team India. He had done well in a warm-up match where he struck a 73-ball ton. Also on last tour to Australia he scored a ton as well. So he would like to replicate that kind of performance.
Lastly, India has opted for two spinners - Ashwin and Jadeja. With the entry of the latter, the team gets an excellent balance, as Jadeja knows how to score runs with the tail — something that has been missing from the team for sometime now. He would be crucial with the bat, ball and in the field. India till now has fielded poorly in the series, and would like to change that at the earliest.
India playing XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav