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India Vs England: Probable India XI for 4th Test in Ahmedabad starting March 4

Ahmedabad, March 2: Team India will lock horns with England in the fourth and final Test at the refurbished Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, starting Thursday (March 4).

Having taken an unassailable 2-1 lead over tourists with their emphatic 10-wicket-win in the third Test which was also held at the same venue, Virat Kohli and his band would be eager to make it 3-1.

Joe Root-led England side, on the other hand, would be aiming to bounce back and offer the hosts a tough challenge and level the series.

India vs England 2021: Leach eager to learn subtleties of spin bowling from Ashwin, Axar in 4th Test

India, however, will be missing the services of their premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah - who has pulled out of the series due to personal reasons - the final Test and focus will be on who is going to replace the right-arm pacer.

England would also look to make changes in their squad after being severely criticised for not picking up the playing eleven, keeping the pitch and conditions in mind.

Here's how India's Playing XI might look like in the series ender in Ahmedabad:

1. Rohit Sharma:

1. Rohit Sharma:

The senior opener slammed a brilliant half-century in the third Test and helped India post 145 in the first innings. His knock of 66 ensured the hosts take a lead of 33 runs after having bundled out the tourists to 112 in their first innings.

In the second innings, Rohit scored an unbeaten 25 and India cruised home in style while chasing a meagre 49-run target. Rohit, who scored a majestic 161 at Chennai in the second Test that paved the way for India's resounding victory, has achieved his career-best eighth in the latest Test rankings for batsmen, following his performances in the pink-ball Test. The Mumbaikar would once again be eager to contribute with the bat and prove why he's indispensable to Team India in home Tests.

2. Shubman Gill

2. Shubman Gill

The young India batsman was given a preference over senior Mayank Agarwal as an opener against England owing to his terrific performance in Australia. But the youngster didn't quite make the impression in the home series for he hasn't been able to convert the start into a big knock.

Barring that 50 in the second innings of the opening Test in Chennai, the right-handed batsman has had scores of 29, 0, 14, 11, and 15* in the remaining five innings.

Team management would, however, give the talented Punjab cricketer another chance in the final Test and expect a better show from the 21-year-old.

3. Cheteshwar Pujara

3. Cheteshwar Pujara

The Saurashtra batsman too hasn't been in the best of form in the ongoing series and Pujara would be looking to end this season with a big knock in the final Test.

Like Gill, Pujara too has scored just a fifty in the ongoing series. His defiant knock of 73 off 222 balls in the opening Test went in vain as India ended up losing the game.

In the next four innings that he has batted, the top-order batsman scored 15, 21, 7, and 0 respectively. The lack of runs in the series has also resulted in the 33-year-old slipping in Test Rankings. Pujara would also be looking to bounce back and silence his critics with a big knock in Ahmedabad.

4. Virat Kohli

4. Virat Kohli

The Indian skipper's bat has also been silent of late as the destructive batsman from Delhi hasn't yet scored a century in 2021. Since that double hundred against Bangladesh in 2019, the right-handed batting maestro hasn't scored a single ton.

Of course, quite a lot of cricket has been lost to the Covid-19 pandemic but Kohli will be eager to cross that mark soon to end this mini-drought.

5. Ajinkya Rahane

5. Ajinkya Rahane

The India vice-captain's batting form has also been under a lot of scanner for he too hasn't been in the best of form in the home series. Everyone expected a turn around from Rahane - the batsman - after his sensational century in Melbourne, but the Mumbaikar didn't quite live up to the expectations.

The talented right-handed batsman, who made a gritty 67 in the first innings of the second Test at Chepauk, has scored 1, 0, 10, and 7 in the remaining four innings in the ongoing series and the 32-year-old would be eager to play a big knock in Ahmedabad.

6. Rishabh Pant

6. Rishabh Pant

Pant did not deliver much as a batsman in the pink-ball Test at Motera but his wicketkeeping seemed to have improved a lot in the last two games.

After scoring an unbeaten 58* in the first innings of the second Test, everyone expected Pant - the batsman - to explode but the southpaw was dismissed for 8 (stumped) in the second innings of the Chennai Test and scored just 1 in the pink-ball Test.

In the final Test at Motera, the Delhi he will be eager to come up with an all-round effort - behind and in front of the wickets.

7. R Ashwin

7. R Ashwin

After owning the second Test with bat and ball, R Ashwin once again showed his brilliance with the ball in the third Test as he grabbed seven wickets and scored valuable 17 runs on a challenging Motera track.

The veteran off-spinner - who entered the 400 wickets club in the previous game - will be eager for an encore in the fourth Test as well.

8. Axar Patel

8. Axar Patel

The left-arm spinner was awarded the man of the match for his performance in the pink-ball Test as he bagged fifers in both the innings. It was his brilliance with the ball that terrorised the English batsman on a spin-friendly Motera pitch which concluded inside two days.

For his 11-wicket-haul in just his second Test, the Gujarat all-rounder will once again retain his place in the fourth Test.

9. Washington Sundar/Kuldeep Yadav

9. Washington Sundar/Kuldeep Yadav

Washington Sundar was picked up in the third Test but his bowling services were hardly needed in the game as the duo R Ashwin and Axar Patel was enough to run through England's batting line-up.

However, the off-spinner got a wicket in the second innings but he too failed to score any runs in the first innings of the Motera Test.

Team management might look at including chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in the fourth Test for he brings a variety on the table and might be a dangerous bowler for the English batsmen to face with the red ball.

10. Ishant Sharma

10. Ishant Sharma

The veteran pacer would be leading the fast-bowling attack in the final Test. Playing his 101st Test, Ishant will be looking to get more wickets and some more assistance from the Motera pitch. The right-arm pacer will begin Team India's proceedings with the new ball and get those early breakthroughs for his team in the fourth Test.

11. Umesh Yadav/Mohammed Siraj

11. Umesh Yadav/Mohammed Siraj

Umesh Yadav has had pretty impressive performances with the red ball at home and the right-arm pacer - who was included in the side ahead of the third Test - might just get a chance to make his comeback. The Vidarbha speedster could face stiff competition for the spot with Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj.

Siraj has been impressive in his short Test career and did well in the second Test against England in Chennai. It could be a toss-up between him and Umesh for the second pacer.

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Story first published: Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 12:47 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 2, 2021