Monday, April 22, 2024

England name Tom Hartley in spin-dominated team to face India in first Test -Dlight News

Lancashire’s Tom Hartley is set to make his England debut in the first Test against India in a team dominated by spinners.

Left-armer Hartley joins the established Jack Leach and teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed in an attack that suggests the tourists expect lavish turn, with Joe Root a fourth spin option.

Mark Wood has been picked as the only seam bowler in the side, meaning England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson will sit the match out in Hyderabad.

Ollie Pope, Foakes, Ahmed and Leach all come into the side having not been involved in England’s last Test against Australia at The Oval last summer.

England Men’s XI to face India:

1. Zak Crawley
2. Ben Duckett
3. Ollie Pope
4. Joe Root
5. Jonny Bairstow
6. Ben Stokes (C)
7. Ben Foakes
8. Rehan Ahmed
9. Tom Hartley
10. Mark Wood
11. Jack Leach

England Test series in India 2024

  • First Test – January 25-29 (Hyderabad)
  • Second Test – February 2-6 (Vizag)
  • Third Test – February 15-19 (Rajkot)
  • Fourth Test – February 23-27 (Ranchi)
  • Fifth Test – March 7-11 (Dharamshala)

With Wood operating best in short, rapid bursts, England are ready to embrace an entirely different rhythm of cricket. Root’s off-breaks are also likely to feature heavily and Stokes has even suggested he could open the bowling with the part-timer.

“It would be a complete and utter ‘gut’ thing, as most of my decisions like that are,” said Stokes. “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.”

Tom Hartley plays cricket for Lancashire and has 40 first-class wickets
Image:
Lancashire left-arm spinner Hartley has been brought in at the age of 24

Ben Foakes returns as wicketkeeper, with Jonny Bairstow reverting to a specialist batting role at No 5.

Surrey wicketkeeper Foakes starred against New Zealand and South Africa at the beginning of head coach Brendon McCullum’s time in charge, before being dropped for Bairstow in the Ashes series last summer.

“We all know the impact Jonny made in my first summer as captain,” Stokes said this week.

“And there’s no doubt about the skill Ben Foakes possesses with the gloves. He can not only do things other ‘keepers can’t, but also make them look incredibly easy.

“He’s a very special talent behind there and having someone like that who can maybe take a two per cent, three per cent chance, that could be massive in the series.”

Stokes remained visibly disgruntled by Shoaib Bashir’s treatment as he gave his pre-match press conference and revealed he initially suggested the squad should not fly to India without their team-mate.

That idea did not last long and he said there was “never a chance” of boycotting the first Test.

“When I first found the news out in Abu Dhabi, I did say we shouldn’t fly until Bash gets his visa but that was a little bit tongue in cheek,” he said.

“I know it’s a way bigger thing, doing that. That was probably just [my] emotions around the whole thing. There was never a chance that we were not going to travel around this but Bash knows he’s had our full support.

“I’m pretty devastated that Bash has had to go through this. As a leader, as a captain, when one of your team-mates is affected by something like that you do get a bit emotional.

“I know he’s back in London and a lot of people are jumping through hoops to try and get this through quicker. Hopefully we’re going to see him here over the weekend.”

Follow England’s five-Test series in India across Sky Sports’ digital platforms with live blogs and reports.

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