Team India’s bench strength has been on full display in recent months. A well-established domestic cricket structure and fruitful India A initiatives have led to the Indian Team having a solid bench. The successful series win in Australia was a result of this.
This has led to many comments on social media that BCCI must start thinking of fielding an additional team in international cricket. Although we know that it won’t be possible, the idea does seem interesting. We build upon it in this article. In the below headings, we discuss the likely Test XI if Team India has a second team.
Assuming Team India’s Strongest Test XI (if there are no injuries) will be – Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
Openers: Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal
This duo started the first test against Australia in Adelaide. It was a pink-ball game, and both failed miserably. While Prithvi was dropped for the remaining games, Mayank played two more matches, but the performance was still mediocre. Nevertheless, both these players have done well in the past, and they are only going through a tough phase. In fact, with a slight blip in form for the first-choice openers, these two could be beneath the spotlight again.
Backups: Shikhar Dhawan, Abhimanyu Eashwaran and Priyank Panchal
Middle-Order: KL Rahul (C), Hanuma Vihari, and Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
KL Rahul was branded as a Test Match player, but at the moment, he is one of the best white-ball batsmen in India. Nevertheless, he is gunning for a Test return, and it might happen soon. He will captain this squad because he is the only player in the team to have had the experience of being a captain at a high level. Hanuma Vihari is a solid batsman and will still be preferred in games outside India. He will play at No.4 while veteran keeper Saha would operate at the core of the middle-order. There is also KS Bharath who can come into the picture.
Backups: Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat and Manish Pandey
All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar and Akshar Patel
India is lucky to have this trio in its reserves. On their day, each of these players can win games on their own, and therefore, this team will be extremely strong. Based on the pitch and conditions, the likes of Vijay Shankar or Jalaj Saxena could find a place in the XI too. While Hardik and Washi will have to support the batting department, Akshar would do more work with the red-ball in hand.
Backups: Vijay Shankar, K Gowtham and Jalaj Saxena
Bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj
Umesh Yadav will lead this pace attack which also contains Siraj and Shardul, the heroes from Australia. While Umesh has proved himself in this format, Siraj and Shardul are slowly climbing the ladder. There is depth in this department too. Kuldeep and Nadeem can come in as spinners while there are Saini and Nattu who will sit as backups in the pace department.
Backups: Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Navdeep Saini, T Natarajan and Avesh Khan