India will lock horns with Australia in the first Test of the four-match series at Vidarbha Cricket Stadium in Nagpur from Thursday (February 9). Ahead of the first game of the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2023, India’s former opener Wasim Jaffer has picked up the starting eleven of the host nation.

In his predicted eleven, Jaffer has named both Shubman Gill and KL Rahul. However, Rahul comes as an opener in his line-up, while the India veteran has allotted Gill the fifth batting spot. Jaffer’s other picks as batters include Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, with KS Bharat in the wicketkeeper-batter role.

On the other hand, Jaffer’s pace attack for the first Test of the BGT 2023 consists of Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have also made it to the Jaffer’s eleven. Meanwhile, Axar Patel was left out by the 44-year-old former batter, and Kuldeep Yadav was given a place in the team instead. He also explained the reason for leaving out Axar and said, “Hard to leave out Axar but Kuldeep brings variety as a wrist spinner.”

Notably, Shreyas Iyer – who is recovering from his injury is doubtful for the opening Test against the Aussies, and that could be the reason why he didn’t get a spot in Jaffer’s starting eleven.

In the meantime, Australia’s star fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will also not play the opening game in Nagpur due to an injury.

It is an important series for the Indian side because their hopes for the World Test Championship 2023 final depend on it. Hence, India will try their best to win at least three of the four matches, provided they are the hosts with a quality spin line-up.

However, both the teams would surely look to register a win in the opening game to set the momentum for the series and therefore enter the field with their best of eleven players.

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