What Team Combination Will Ravi Shastri And Virat Kohli Go With For Opening Test?

The first test of the two match Freedom series between India and South Africa starts on October 2 in Vishakhapatnam. India go in as the betting favourites as they have the home advantage and the knowledge that they are facing a South African team that is looking to find its feet now that a number of senior players are gone.

South Africa no longer have the services of H Amla and D Steyn who have been two of the best players for the Proteas for a long time. They have a number of new faces in the side who do not have a lot of experience playing test cricket in India. This should make the challenge a lot easier for India but it will all depend on the playing eleven.

Will R Sharma Succeed As An Opener?

India have experimented with their opening combination for the last couple of years but have not found two successful openers. R Sharma who opens in T20 and ODI cricket is expected to be given an opportunity to open in the first test along with M Agarwal. R Sharma opened in the warm-up match when the Indian Board President XI took on South Africa in a 3 day game and he failed getting out for 0.

That’s not going to give him a lot of confidence but given his experience and talent, it is quite likely that he will be given the opportunity to open at Vishakhapatnam.

Who Bats At Number 6?   

R Shastri and V Kohli need to decide if they are going to play 6 batsmen or 5 batsmen and let the keeper take over the number 6 position. If they play 6 batsmen, H Vihari is likely to bat at 6. If they play 5 batsman, then either R Pant or W Saha will bat at 6, depending on which wicket-keeper batsman they decide to pick for the first test.

If Pant gets the number 6 slot, he is going to be under a lot of pressure as he has been in poor form for quite some time now.

Three Spinners Or Two?

R Ashwin and R Jadeja will once again be the two automatic choices in the spin bowling line-up. However, if Kohli decides to go with 5 batsmen, it gives India the opportunity to play an extra spinner in K Yadav.

These key selection choices in the playing eleven could determine how the first test plays out!