Michael Vaughan picks his combined XI ahead of England's Test series against India
Michael Vaughan has come up with a few surprising selections in his combined XI.
England's Test series against India starting on the 9th of November has been a much-anticipated one ever since the schedule was announced. While the cricketing fraternities have been busy analyzing the England batsmen's chances against the Indian spinners, few have already ruled out any possible chance of the English team turning the tables around.
With several former players already busy with their predictions for the Test series, former England skipper Michael Vaughan has come up with his combined XI ahead of the start of the first Test in his column for The Telegraph.
Vaughan went in with the ideal choice of English skipper Alastair Cook has one of his openers, however, it was his other opening batsman that came in as a surprise. The former Ashes-winning skipper chose Cheteshwar Pujara as the opening partner for Cook.
Though Pujara is a relatively solid batsman in the middle-order and has an impressive average of 49.22, it would have been a bit wiser if he had gone with a specialist opener in the form of Murali Vijay.
The Ashes-winning skipper decided to play it safe with his middle-order as he went in with three talented right-handers. Vaughan's choice of Joe Root, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane was pretty obvious given the fact that England and India boast over their young superstars.
While Root and Rahane average well over 50, Kohli follows closely behind with an average slightly above 45.
Vaughan stuck to the current English duo of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes to maintain a dependable lower order. Bairstow comes as an obvious choice to fill the wicket-keeper's slot and so does Stokes as an all-rounder.
Stokes has played 27 Tests and has scored three centuries, seven half-centuries and has a high score of 258. His bowling figures aren't bad either as he is averaging 33.32 and has picked up 71 wickets. On the other hand, Bairstow has been in a phenomenal form lately and is the highest run-getter in 2016 in Tests so far.
The experienced campaigner, keeping in mind the sub-continent conditions, went in with the combination of two spinners and two pacers. He picked the Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as his lead spinners and went in with James Anderson and Mohammed Shami for the pace bowling options.
Though the inclusion of Anderson can't be questioned when it comes to what he has achieved, it really comes as a surprise based on the fact that the right-arm bowler is yet to recover completely from the injury that he suffered earlier this year.
The line-up: Alastair Cook, Cheteshwar Pujara, Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, James Anderson, Mohammed Shami
The first Test is scheduled to start from Wednesday in Rajkot, which will be hosting its first Test match.