England Name Playing XI for 1st Test vs India: Anderson Dropped as Visitors Go Spin-Heavy

Hyderabad: In a strategic move, England has unveiled its playing XI for the first Test against India, scheduled in Hyderabad, more than 20 hours ahead of the toss. Led by Ben Stokes, the team has opted for a spin-heavy approach, including debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed.

The official statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday disclosed the selection of four spinners and a lone seamer, Mark Wood. Notably, seasoned fast bowler James Anderson has been left out, despite being the most experienced among the English squad and boasting the highest wicket tally among fast bowlers in Test cricket.

Wood’s selection is attributed to his express pace and ability to generate reverse swing. Stokes emphasized the value of Wood’s skill set and pace in the team, acknowledging it as a vital asset.

This isn’t the first instance of England opting for three spinners; a similar approach was adopted during the 2021 tour in Ahmedabad, with Anderson being the solitary seamer. In that match, Stokes himself contributed significantly, taking four wickets.

However, Stokes is unlikely to bowl in the upcoming Test. Jack Leach is the only bowler in the XI with prior experience playing in India. His spin-bowling partners, Ahmed (in his second Test) and debutant Hartley are relatively inexperienced at this level.

Hartley, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, has an impressive record in first-class cricket with 40 wickets in 20 games. Reports suggest that he is considered England’s response to India’s Axar Patel, known for exploiting variable bounce.

The batting lineup includes Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes, who were absent in England’s last Test against Australia at The Oval. Foakes will take the wicketkeeping duties from Jonny Bairstow.

In a visa-related setback, English spinner Shoaib Bashir has been excluded from the playing eleven as he faces delays in travelling to India. Born in Surrey, England, Bashir holds a British passport but encountered difficulties entering India due to his Pakistani heritage.

The much-anticipated five-match Test series between India and England is set to commence on January 25 in Hyderabad, followed by matches in Vizag, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala.

England XI for 1st Test vs India: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.

You might also like

Comments are closed.