England’s captain, Ben Stokes, is considering various options for the upcoming five-match Test series against India in Hyderabad. With the pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium expected to favor spinners, Stokes is open to the idea of handing the new ball to Joe Root, who is a part-time spinner in the squad.
Stokes emphasized Root’s ability to take the ball away from left-handed batters, particularly mentioning its significance against Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. However, he emphasized that the decision would be based on his assessment of England’s strategic position during the match.
The English skipper stated, “It would be a complete and utter ‘gut’ thing, as most of my decisions like that are. You might even see Rooty taking the new ball, depending on what I feel. If (left-hander) Yashasvi Jaiswal opens the batting, you might see Rooty opening the bowling because it’s spinning away from the bat.”
Stokes highlighted the importance of strategic thinking in team selection, especially in India, where pitch conditions play a crucial role. England is likely to field two specialized spinners in the opening Test, with Tom Hartley expected to make his Test debut alongside Jack Leach. Rehan Ahmed might be on standby, while Root is likely to contribute as the third spinner.
The return of wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes to the playing XI is anticipated, with Jonny Bairstow taking on a specialized batting role. The inclusion of veteran pacer James Anderson for the first Test is yet to be confirmed, and England may decide to feature him in subsequent matches.
As the series opener approaches, Stokes is evaluating various strategies to maximize England’s chances of success in the challenging conditions of India. The final team selection will be influenced by the unique challenges posed by the pitch and the opposition.