India vs England Test Series: India's predicted 16-man squad and starting XI
The much awaited India vs England Test series is set to begin in a few months time, and there is a broad consensus among critics that if in the history of Indian cricket, no team has had as high a chance of succeeding in English conditions as this one.
However, despite the fact that India has an excellent group of players in and around the national set-up, there remains a lot of uncertainty around who will be in the squad, and who will actually take the field. This slideshow looks at both: the probable Indian 15-man squad and the best playing XI that they could field.
Openers: Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan
The 'opening conundrum' in the Indian Test team is no longer being solved now than it was when it started, so, naturally, picking the openers remains a difficult task. However, in overseas conditions, one of the openers clearly merits a place in the side: Murali Vijay. Despite his lackluster tour of South Africa, Murali Vijay's solid technique and patient play makes him India's most reliable opener in overseas conditions. His record in England - 402 runs in 5 matches at an average of 40.2 - is also good, considering how much Asian batsmen tend to struggle in those conditions.
The choice for the second opening slot is a toss-up between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, and between these two, there is no clear favorite. However, Dhawan's form in the IPL, his one session hundred against Afghanistan, and the fact that he opened the innings along with Murali Vijay in the Test match against Afghanistan indicates that he will be the one partnering Murali Vijay at the top of the innings. That being said, Dhawan has been susceptible in overseas conditions, and even if the management picks him ahead of Rahul for the first Test, there is a very real possibility that Rahul may take his spot mid-series.