Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has selected the Ravichandran Ashwin versus Ben Stokes clash as one of the big on-field battles to watch out for in the India-England Birmingham Test as well. Ashwin has a stunning record against the England captain, having dismissed him 11 times in the Test, the most he has dismissed any batter in Test cricket as well. David Warner (10), meanwhile is next on the list.
Previewing the rescheduled Test between India and England, which will begin on Friday (July 1), Watson said during a discussion on The ICC Review show: “The battle that I am really looking forward to is Ashwin and Ben Stokes. Ashwin has had his measure a lot over his career. But now also there is more importance on Ben Stokes’ wicket, even more so than ever because he is captain.”
He further added: “In the Australian cricket team, it’s always like if we can work over the captain and try and make it a really not so good series for them, then the ship can start to sink a little bit. Ashwin is going to be the main man to try and make the most of that battle. He does match up incredibly well.”
However, R Ashwin did not play in any of the four Tests India played during their previous tour of England. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was chosen for all four games ahead of him as well. As for Stokes, he did well with the bat during the recently concluded three-match Test series against New Zealand at home. He smashed 194 runs at an average of 48.50 and a strike rate of 82.55.
“Kohli vs Anderson, it’s always the highlight in the battle between England and India. Two of the titans in world cricket. Anderson had it over him right at the start of Virat’s Test career. But now, in recent times, he hasn’t been able to be as effective against Virat. But that’s always one of the great battles between England and India,” Shane Watson concluded.