Nothing is more satisfying than watching two great Cricket countries battle it out in Test Cricket. It is so much fun to see the game change and Test Cricket will always be my favorite form of Cricket. The series is now evenly balanced at one, so the focus shifts to the Day/ Night Test in Ahmedabad. The first Indian pink ball will be used in a new stadium and pitch. It is impossible to predict what will happen. Is the pitch seamer-friendly? Will the pink bowl swing? India will stick to its strengths and prepare a spin-friendly wicket. These questions will all be answered over time, but England must choose a team that is most suited for these uncertain conditions. Below is the batting order of my team and my reasons for choosing these players. I have considered resting players and selected the team based upon the available players. Jos Buttler, if available, would be my Xl. Unfortunately, he isn’t available (a blog for a different time but I’m NOT HAPPY), so this is my team.
1. Zak Crawley – Crawley will replace Rory Burns if he is healthy and has recovered from an injury. Burns is still not able to deal with Indian fast bowlers aiming at his stumps around the wicket. He poses too high a LBW risk and Bowled risk. He will have to deal with Ashwin, who has a remarkable record against left-handed batsmen, if he survives the quicks. Crawley is right-handed and has a larger stride than the average man. Crawley’s 267 runs last summer were impressive and he is now a potential English star with the bat. He must learn how to adapt his game to Indian conditions. But he won’t if he isn’t given the opportunity.
2. Dom Sibley– Sibley wins the nod over Burns because he’s right handed. Ashwin’s effectiveness against right-handed batsmen is slightly lower, but Sibley showed in Sri Lanka that his ability to score against spin bowlers is not limited to the wicket. He is very difficult to remove when Sibley is in. His role is to bat and allow the other members of the team to bat around. England won the first test by playing a long innings and tiring out Indian bowlers. You can be sure that the Indian bowlers will have worked hard for Sibley’s wicket if he scores any note.
3. Jonny Bairstow – Bairstow is in for Dan Lawrence. Although I believe Lawrence deserves a spot in Test Cricket, it was a big ask to ask him to play three against India in India. To build confidence and gain experience, Lawrence should play against a slightly more difficult opposition. Bairstow has a lot of experience and is an experienced player against spin. After his return from the touring bubble, he has a above-average Test Record. He is a welcome addition for England. He needs to be at his best, and I’m sure he is.
4. Joe Root – I believe he is the number two Test batsman in the world, behind Kane Williamson from New Zealand. He chooses himself.
5. Ben Stokes – Another great act who picks his own. England’s second-best batsman, and a global cricket star. Must play.
6. Ollie Pope – He is still learning but he looks good. England will be watching to see what he learns from this test. Ollie wouldn’t have been selected if Jos Buttler wasn’t available. Buttler, at the moment, is a superior batsman than Pope. He would have made a great number six for this test. Pope is my favorite batting talent and he isn’t available. He is the winner.
7. Ben Foakes – I love playing the best gloveman available, and Ben Foakes has to be the best Wicket Keeper in England. He is also a great batsman, and I believe he should be selected ahead of Bairstow and Buttler for Wicket Keeping duties during Test matches. While Bairstow and Buttler are excellent wicket keepers, Foakes is a great one and should be played.
8. Chris Woakes – Woakes wins this test over Dom Bess because it’s a Day/Night test using a pink ball. India were bowled out cheaply using a pink ball against Australia in a day/night match. Woakes is a great bowler who can exploit any pitch that favours seam. Woakes is able to bowl well even if the wicket favors seam. He is a great cricketer and would love to play in a match. He is also an excellent lower order batsman, which is why I picked him over Stuart Broad. Broad is losing all confidence in the bat, and England cannot afford to have four bowlers who aren’t able to bat in their team. Woakes, a skilled lower-order batsman, is capable of scoring large runs when needed.
9. Jofra Archer – Archer gets the nod if he is fit in front Ollie Stone and Mark Wood – both of whom are impressive bowlers. Archer is the natural fastest fast bowler that I have ever seen. He is also a match winner. Archer can both bowl very fast and long spells. He’s probably more versatile than Stone or Wood, and I consider him my eleventh.
10. Jack Leach Currently, Leach is the best spin bowler from England and plays in front Dom Bess. Leach is more precise than Bess, and he can spin the ball away from right-handers in India. He is becoming more confident and deserves his spot in the team.
11. Jimmy Anderson – It was a huge mistake to rest Anderson for the second round. He had to play, and it was a huge mistake to rest Anderson for the second test. It would be fair if there wasn’t a gap between the second test and the third, but the players had plenty of time to recover after the first test. Anderson is not young, but he is very fit and could have played. Anderson will be well rested and ready to play. He will be able to bowl well in all conditions.