Mumbai Test: Wasim Jaffer predicts Kohli & Co.'s XI, drops India's double centurion for NZ series finale

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Dec 02, 2021, 08:59 PM IST


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IND vs NZ, Mumbai Test: Despite pressure on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, Wasim Jaffer's predicted India XI includes both. Here's the former Indian opener's XI for the home side ahead of the series finale -

Team India will lock horns with Kane Williamson-led New Zealand in the second and final Test at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on December 3 (Friday). After the riveting Kanpur Test, which ended in a draw, the two sides have all to play for with the series on the line.

While Williamson-led Black Caps will be confident after their spirited fight in the first Test, India will be boosted by regular captain Virat Kohli's return into the playing XI. However, his return will see one of the main batters warm the bench. Though vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane averages a mere 19.57 in 12 games this year, Cheteshwar Pujara has also not scored a ton since early 2019. The pressure is on both the senior pros but former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer feels Kohli is likely to make it to the XI at the expense of Mayank Agarwal.

Mayank, who has a high score of 243, returned with 13 and 17 in the Kanpur Test. Hence, his position is also under threat. 

Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo, "The way Pujara batted in England, it was good to see that he was playing at a quicker pace. He is used to Indian conditions, he has to adopt a positive approach once he gets set onto the crease.

On Rahane, Jaffer insisted that he looked in good touch in the first essay of the Kanpur Test but needs to capitalise on his starts. "In the Kanpur Test, he would've lamented his shot in the first innings. He looked positive but he squandered the opportunity. But I want him to play with the same approach that he showed in the first innings," Jaffer added.

With no Mayank in his XI, Jaffer also named KS Bharat as an opener along with Shubman Gill. It will be interesting to see if Wriddhiman Saha gets dropped after his gutsy 61 not out in the second innings of the first Test. Moreover, he has been declared fit by Captain Kohli ahead of the series finale. In addition, his XI included Mohammed Siraj, replacing Ishant Sharma.

Jaffer's XI for 2nd Test: KS Bharat, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav

Kohli-led India will like to win the Test and clinch the series before their all-important South Africa tour, where they play three Tests and ODIs each along with four T20Is.