5 Key English players for the Test Series against India
The England Cricket team will be visiting India for a five-match test series. The first test match will commence on Thursday as Ben Stokes’s side will be returning to test cricket for the first time since the 2023 Ashes, which took place in June and July last year.
On the other side, the Men in Blue recently played a two-match test series against Aiden Markram’s South Africa, which ended in a 1-1 draw as Rohit Sharma’s men bounced back after the Boxing Day Test defeat to start the new year on a good note.
Albeit without Virat Kohli, the hosts would be buoyant after that win coupled with the 3-0 win against Afghanistan in the T20I series where many of the red-ball regulars were seen taking part to warm up for the upcoming red-ball extravaganza against Brendon Mccullum’s men.
The visitors will be without Harry Brook who has pulled out of the series for an indefinite period while Shoaib Bashir was denied entry into India due to VISA issues and the prodigy spinner has been ruled out for the first test.
Mark Wood will be the lone seamer in the first test match as Jack Leach will take on the role of the lead spinner with the supporting cast featuring debutant Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed. The teenager became the youngest bowler to take a five-wicket haul on his debut in Pakistan and would be raring to play his second test match in the subcontinent.
Hence, without further ado, let’s take a look at the five key English players for the test series against India.
#5 Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley has swiftly become an important part of the English batting line-up. He was also a part of the 2023 Ashes series, where he played an impressive 189-run knock in Manchester in the fourth test.
Recently, the opening batter represented Perth Scorchers in the 2023-24 Big Bash League, helping the Scorchers reach the playoffs but were eventually eliminated by Adelaide Strikers in the knockout game on January 20.
Against India, Zak Crawley has scored only 155 runs in a total of eight innings, which includes one half-century scored in Ahmedabad in 2021 and would certainly be looking to better that record as the 25-year old has been a crucial part of the ‘Bazball’ machine led by Ben Stokes.
#4 Ollie Robinson
Ollie Robinson had a breakthrough season in 2021. Since then, he has firmly established his place in the English cricket squad in all formats. However, last year, things took a sore turn for the right-arm medium-fast bowler as he was dropped out of England’s ICC Cricket World Cup team.
Robinson played his last test match for England at the Lord’s in July against Australia during the 2023 Ashes. During the series, he was a part of the team in three matches, where he picked up 10 wickets and was also a part of the English squad that hosted India in 2021. In four games, he took 21 wickets and also picked up two five-wicket hauls against the Men in Blue.
#3 Ben Stokes
2023 was full of twists and turns for Ben Stokes as he played a few matches for Chennai Super Kings but his chronic knee injury deprived him of bowling. Moreover, defending champions England fumbled on the global stage and ended their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign at the seventh spot with only three wins despite the return of Stokes in the ODI format.
The English test skipper will be looking to get things sorted in the new year. Although he’s highly unlikely to bowl during the test series Stokes can change the outcome of a game with his bat only. Against India, Ben Stokes has scored 773 runs and has taken 39 wickets in 30 innings.
The 32-year-old played his last test match during the 2023 Ashes, where England took down the likes of Australia by 49 runs in the fifth test. Hence, Stokes will be returning to action after the World Cup and his aggressive approach can cause a few problems for the Men in Blue.
#2 Joe Root
Joe Root made his last appearance for England in November during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against Pakistan, where he scored 60 runs. Moreover, he played his last test match at the Oval against Australia in July during the Ashes.
To manage the workload, Root also decided to withdraw from the IPL 2024 and also take a rest from limited-overs cricket. Interestingly, he made his test debut against India in Nagpur in 2012. Since then, Root has played 25 matches against the Men in Blue, making 45 appearances, where he has scored 2526 runs with his highest score being 218.
Root has played a few of his most successful innings against India. The English right-hand batter enjoys the Indian pitches and has scored nine tons and 10 half-centuries against the Asian Giants.
#1 Jack Leach
Jack Leach was not a part of the English squad for the 2023 Ashes. As a result, he played his last test match against Ireland in June at the Lord’s. During the match, Leach took three wickets in the first innings and one in the second innings.
The left-arm orthodox spin bowler has played 35 test matches for the English cricket team, where he has picked a total of 124 wickets. His best figures came against the New Zealand where he took 5 wickets while conceding 66 runs. Talking about his performance against India, Leach has taken 19 wickets against the Men in Blue in a total of nine innings.
However, Leach has given praiseworthy performances against India in the subcontinent. Playing at Chennai and Ahmedabad (twice each), Leach has taken 18 wickets against the Men in Blue. Hence, the 32-year-old will be looking forward to attaining the much-anticipated success in the five-match test series.