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Bangladesh v India 2022/23

Wisden writers pick the India XI for the first Bangladesh Test

KL Rahul, captain of the India XI for the Test series against Bangladesh
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

India will play two Tests against Bangladesh from December 14 and the XI will be led by KL Rahul after Rohit Sharma was ruled out with injury.

In Rohit’s absence, Abhimanyu Easwaran has been called up to the squad. The Indian team have a number of injury concerns in front of them, with Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah all missing out. Jaydev Unadkat, who was called as a replacement, will miss the first Test as he is stuck in India.

India’s squad for the Test series: KL Rahul (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara (vc), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat


Aadya Sharma, Wisden India editor

KL Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

I’m ignoring an obvious pick at the top, but there won’t be a better chance to reward Easwaran for years of toil. It’s also the only space available, as the next four pick themselves. It is Pant over Bharat for now, India’s talismanic wicketkeeper needs some runs under his belt after an indifferent patch.

In Ashwin and Axar, India have two spinners who can excel in Bangladeshi conditions (and be lethal if they decide to prepare a rank turner). Among quicks, Thakur can do the Ishant Sharma workhorse role, while Siraj can be depended upon to give the early breakthroughs. India could have benefitted from having left-arm seamer Unadkat in their ranks, a variety they haven’t included in Tests in nearly two years. In Umesh, they have a worthy option, proven to bowl attacking spells even on unhelpful pitches.

Abhishek Mukherjee, Wisden India head of content

Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Saurabh Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

Of the Bangladesh grounds, Chattogram has been the least helpful to fast bowlers over the past five years, so India are likely to go in with three spinners. In that case, uncapped Saurabh Kumar is likely to play alongside the senior men, R Ashwin and Axar Patel.

With Jaydev Unadkat out of the reckoning, India will almost certainly pick Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav as their fast bowlers. The batters pick themselves, with Shubman Gill likely to edge out the uncapped Abhimanyu Easwaran.

Sarah Waris, Wisden India content executive

Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

I was backing Unadkat to make the XI and complete a fairytale comeback before the news of him missing the Test arrived. Umesh is the most likely to replace him, having done well for India whenever he has been given a go of late.

The batting line-up picks itself. There are talks of pushing Gill down the order, but that is likely to happen only when Rohit is around and Gill does not have a place up the order. Shreyas Iyer deserves his spot after a fabulous start to his career. The only other debatable pick is Shardul Thakur. Saurabh Kumar will get help from the wicket, but Thakur gets the ball talking and has also gained the trust of the management. He is also a handy batter.

Shashwat Kumar, Wisden India staff writer

KL Rahul (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

The batting unit effectively selects itself because of the number of injuries. Abhimanyu Easwaran has been in a rich vein of form but Gill was the designated backup opener, in case Rahul or Rohit Sharma were unable to play.

On the bowling front, I have gone with Siraj and Umesh because these pitches will suit them to the tee. Umesh has also not gotten as many chances as his recent form warrants, and it would not make sense to bring Unadkat in from the outside and play him in the XI even if he were available. Kuldeep has not played a Test since February last year but has been bowling as well as he has done in the past couple of years. And if India are to make the most of his bowling abilities, they need to give him confidence, starting now.

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