India will take on South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series, starting Sunday (December 26) in Centurion. They are well prepared and eyeing for their first-ever Test series win in South Africa, having won only three red-ball games till now.
Ahead of the opening Test, former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer has picked his India XI among those available for selection.
Jaffer, who is the only Indian to score a Test century in South Africa, has named Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli as the top four batters which many expected.
He then picked former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in form of extra batter and explained his decision to have the Mumbaikar in his final XI.
“KL and Mayank will open. Pujara at number three [and] Virat Kohli at four. I’ll play Ajinkya at number five. There’s a lot of debate regarding his form and between him Shreyas Iyer and Vihari.
For the first Test, I’ll definitely prefer Ajinkya because he has experience and skill. Yes, his recent form is debatable, but he has scored runs in South Africa and knows the conditions well. And he brings a lot more to the table than just batting – [like leadership] when he was the captain [or] as a slip fielder,” Jaffer was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo.
The veteran opener further said that he would go with Shreyas Iyer for No. 6 and Rishabh Pant at seven.
While Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone spinner, three pacers – Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj – found a spot in Jaffer’s India XI.
“I’ll prefer Shreyas Iyer for number six because of his recent form and how he batted against New Zealand. I’ll prefer him over Vihari.
Vihari had a good series with India A, he made pretty good runs in similar conditions, but that was India ‘A’ series and not Tests. So I’ll prefer somebody who scored runs in Tests. Number seven would be Rishabh Pant, number eight would be Ashwin, and nine ten eleven would be Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj,” added Jaffer.
Wasim Jaffer’s India XI for Centurion Test:
Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.
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