England vs India 2018: India-England Combined Test XI
The much anticipated England-India Test series is about to start and would be the decider in of tour as India and England winning the T20 and ODI series respectively. India's current generation has not won a Test series in England in recent years and would be motivated to justify their number 1 ranking. Each team boasts of players of tremendous caliber, but here is my combined XI of England and India for the upcoming Test series.
As England's all-time top run scorer in Test matches, Alastair Cook's inclusion into the XI is a no-brainer. At the age of 33, he might not be enjoying the best of his forms, but scoring 180 against India A recently will certainly boost his confidence. Unless Indian seamers deal with him early in the innings, his knack of getting 100s might prove to be a costly affair for the visiting team.
Indian team would need a solid start at the beginning of the innings and who better to do the job other than the guy who faced 1000+ plus balls last time India toured England. He would be facing Englands's two most dangerous strike bowlers and his gritty batting nature might just be the perfect way to counter. He averaged around 40 last time India toured England and Virat & co would be hoping that Vijay builds on that experience.
This was a close call between Cheteswar Pujara and Joe Root. However taking current form into account, Joe Root makes the playing 11. His only challenge is to convert starts into big scores, which he has been failing to do as he has converted only 3 out of 23 fifties into hundreds. He scored a century in the ODI series decider and would be hoping to carry the same form into the Tests.
Already considered as one of the modern-day greats, it's practically impossible to leave Virat Kohli out of any team. His run tally of 134 runs during India's last tour of England would surely be haunting him. If Kohli gets going, India's would be a force to reckon with if it's already not.
Ajinkya Rahane gets an entry into this line-up ahead of Jonny Bairstow because he reaches another level when it comes to overseas tours. He averages 52.05 away from home, which is the best in the world. His form has been slightly off the track lately, but the team management would surely back him up.