Ahead of the 2nd Test match between India and England scheduled to commence at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam, England has officially announced its playing XI.
The new playing XI of England have some noteworthy changes in the lineup. The key highlight is the return of the seasoned campaigner, James Anderson, as the sole specialist pacer.
The Ben Stokes-led side, known for its assertive style, opted to disclose their playing XI a day in advance, adhering to their aggressive strategy.
As anticipated, left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out due to a knee injury sustained during the Hyderabad Test.
To fill this void, the young off-spinner Sohaib Bashir has been named in the playing XI, marking his second debut for England on this tour after Tom Hartley.
Sohaib Bashir’s inclusion may have raised eyebrows due to his limited experience with just six first-class matches under his belt.
However, the 20-year-old Somerset lad impressed Stokes during the preparatory camp in Abu Dhabi leading up to the India series.
Stokes was particularly convinced of Bashir’s potential after witnessing him bowl a notable spell against the legendary England opener Alastair Cook during a County Championship match last year.
Bashir, who arrived in India on Sunday following the clearance of his visa, reportedly troubled England batters in his first nets session at Visakhapatnam.
His off-spin prowess is expected to pose a challenge for the less experienced Indian batting unit.
In a strategic move, England has opted for James Anderson over Mark Wood as the lone specialist pacer. Anderson, a seasoned campaigner with a wealth of experience, is making a return to the playing XI after being excluded in the previous match in favor of Wood.
The decision to bring back Anderson is influenced by his mastery in extracting reverse swing, a crucial aspect in the Indian subcontinent conditions.
Contrary to speculations about England possibly fielding four spinners, the team management decided to stick with three.
Alongside Bashir, the spin department will be manned by Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed. Joe Root’s efficient spin-bowling role also factored into this decision.
Despite the heroic batting performance in the second innings of the previous Test, where Ollie Pope’s magnificent 196 stood out, England has opted not to make changes to their successful batting lineup.
This decision underscores the team’s confidence in maintaining a winning combination as they strive to level the series against India. The second Test promises to be a riveting encounter with England’s reshaped playing XI adding a layer of anticipation to the contest.
ENG Playing 11 for 2nd Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson