England has transformed test cricket. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum are not the type of players who go on the defensive during a difficult period; instead, they enjoy challenging themselves in adverse situations and, more often than not, emerge victorious. The Ashes 2023 provides one such example. The Three Lions were down, but far from out. They lost the first two Tests and were supposed to be thrashed by the world champions, but Ben Stokes’ side responded emphatically to silence their detractors.Their next task will be a five-match Test series against India. Many former Indian cricketers have expressed concerns about the Bazball strategy, claiming that it will not work in India’s spin-friendly conditions. Will that serve as inspiration for England? Most likely. They will not back out, just as they have not under Stokes.
That has been England’s attitude, and it represents a significant change in Test cricket. Putting attitude and method aside, can England put India in trouble? It is challenging. The hosts have not lost a single Test series in the subcontinent in over a decade. Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed, and Tom Hartley are all viable choices, but neither has experience.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes will be vital batsmen.
Playing Bazball on the turning fields may be challenging, but England is unlikely to modify their approach. Jonny Bairstow, Ollie Pope, and Ben Duckett all be looking to establish their value under difficult circumstances, while Harry Brook, who has been outstanding in the longer format, will be missed.
Meanwhile, India cannot afford to rest. Even if the majority of the hitters have spectacular stats while playing in India, their form is somewhat alarming, since teenagers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill haven’t been at their best in recent times. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli will miss the first two matches of the five-match series due to personal reasons, allowing KL Rahul to cement his place in the playing XI.
KS Bharat is expected to keep wickets, while India will likely field three spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have chosen for themselves, while Axar Patel is poised to be the third choice, with Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah as pace possibilities.
The series is also important for the Rohit Sharma-led team’s World Test Championship standings, as they dropped points against the West Indies and were recently defeated by South Africa. Despite India’s dominance, cricket is an unpredictable game, and England is an unpredictable team.
England tour of India 2024, 1st Test Match, India vs England
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium
Date & Time: Wednesday, 24 January, 9:30 AM IST
Pitch Report: Spinners will benefit greatly from the surface, and it won’t be shocking if the ball begins to turn on Day 1. It’s a good idea to bat first because it could be quite hard to chase in the fourth innings.
PROBABLE PLAYING XI
Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Mark Wood, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach