Harsha Bhogle unsure of England's playing XI for 1st Test
The England team announced their playing XI for the first Test in Hyderabad earlier today and there were some interesting calls taken by the management. The Three Lions decided to snub the most experienced pacer in the side, James Anderson, to opt for a spin-heavy side.
Pacer Mark Wood is the only fast bowler in the lineup for the Hyderabad Test which comprises spinners Jack Leach, Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed.
Echoing on the same lines, cricket commentator and pundit Harsha Bhogle said, "I must admit I am a little surprised that England have opted to go with three spinners. With Mark Wood being the impact quickie bowling in short bursts, and no other seamer to call on, it will be a lot of work for three spinners, two of are fairly inexperienced. Clearly, they have read the pitch as a big, early turner. I thought Anderson with swing early on and reverse later with Root as the 3rd spinner would be the way England would go."
I must admit I am a little surprised that England have opted to go with three spinners. With Mark Wood being the impact quickie bowling in short bursts, and no other seamer to call on, it will be a lot of work for three spinners, two of are fairly inexperienced. Clearly, they…— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 24, 2024
England squad will have a debutant for the first Test
On the other hand, England will be without the services of uncapped Shoaib Bashir, who was not allowed to enter India due to visa issues. He has now flown home to sort out the issue in the hopes that he can rejoin the squad ahead of the second Test match in Vizag.
England's suqad announcement press release did not specify the designated wicketkeeper but it is anticipated that Ben Foakes will reassume the role. Despite Jonny Bairstow being the other wicketkeeping option in the playing XI, he will primarily focus on his outfield responsibilities.
England have also handed a debut to Tom Hartley in the first Test of the 5-match series.