When Virat Kohli walks out for the toss at Lord’s, once again there will be plenty of focus on what is the playing XI he would select for the second Test. At Edgbaston, Kohli continued with the trend of not naming the same playing XI in any of the 36 Tests he has been India’s captain. While Dinesh Karthik’s presence in the XI had guaranteed that the run was going to continue, he ended up pulling off a surprise by dropping Cheteshwar Pujara and opting for KL Rahul at No 3 and stuck with Shikhar Dhawan as the opener.
While it would be a bit of a stretch to say Pujara’s presence would have made the difference, India’s batting line-up did miss the presence of a batsman who could play a long innings. Both Dhawan and Rahul are stroke players, and their tendencies to play the drive came back to haunt them. You wouldn’t blame Kohli – who scored 200 of the 436 runs India score at Edgbaston – to expect more from his batsmen, and even wanting to draft in an extra batsman at Lord’s, where the pitch is expected to be dry, given the hot conditions in London.
As we wrote on these pages, however, there is also the case to be made for Kohli persisting with the same batting line-up. Dropping Pujara from a Test team can never be easy and Kohli and the team management would have (hopefully) given this decision a lot of thought ahead of the first game. So now, it is time for them to show confidence in their thought process and the batsmen they picked.
The bowling line-up, impressive once again by picking up 20 wickets for the fourth overseas Test on the trot, could well be retained. Jasprit Bumrah’s continued unavailability would mean Kohli wouldn’t be forced into making a change, but he might be tempted to consider two spinners or perhaps dropping a bowling option to go for an extra batsman, like Sunil Gavaskar has been advocating.
The team selection for the second Test will once again come under focus, as it always does under Kohli’s captaincy. If you were making the decisions, what would your selection be? Take the survey below and let us know.
Note: Make sure you select only eleven players overall and avoid repetition of selections between categories.
Go on, put your captain’s hat on.
We’ll publish the most popular XI as chosen by you, before Kohli reveals his actual choice, like we did before the Edgbaston Test, where the majority of us were proved spectacularly wrong. And if you’d like to elaborate your choices, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.