After a disastrous whitewash in their last tour to England, MS Dhoni led Indian test team will have their task cut out when they take the field against the home team at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. India are keeping their playing XI close to their chest and it is said that the team management is exploring its chances and might give Stuart Binny his first test cap at the expense of Rohit Sharma. On the Other hand, Jos Buttler has been called up to the English squad to replace injured Matt Prior in the first test. Here is the list of players to watch out for in the First Test Match that begins in less than a day’s time.
Joe Root might be relatively new to International Cricket but he has established himself as one of the most dangerous and consistent batsman in the making. He has been in a fine form in the past year and a lot will be expected from the Yorkshire lad as England’s skipper is struggling to score some runs under his belt. He holds key in the English batting order as he plays the role of anchoring the innings after coming to bat after the fall of second wicket. He has scored a century in the only match he played against India which was also his debut test for England.
Many people hailed Cheteshwar Pujara as the readymade replacement for Rahul Dravid after The Wall hung up his boots. Pujara has performed exceedingly well in home conditions and is yet to prove himself in the testing conditions of England and Australia, where the Indian batsmen are traditionally known to scrub under rising deliveries. For a player to fill the boots of Dravid, it needs some exceptional performance overseas. Pujara, who is playing his first Test in English conditions will have Dravid himself to guide him throughout the tour. A lot can be expected from Pujara, who is the backbone of the Indian batting. Pujara had a pretty decent series against the Poms back home in 2012.
It is certain that R Ashwin will miss out of the playing XI after some poor performances outside the sub-continent. Ashwin’s replacement Ravindra Jadeja had a pretty decent tour of South Africa and New Zealand where he shone with both bat and ball. He has played ODI’s in England three years ago and won’t be new to the conditions that are offered over there. He brings balance to the side as the primary all-rounder in the side and is expected to bowl majority of the overs which might drain him out. A lot of hopes were pinned on Jadeja who is more than decent with the bat. He is also an electrifying fielder in the field as he has the ability to hang to catches from nowhere.
Came into the National team as a limited overs specialist, Moeen Ali cemented his place in the playing XI atleast for the Indian series after his fighting century against Sri Lanka recently that almost saved the final test for England. He is very sensible with the bat and can also be used as the fifth bowler by skipper Alastair Cook, who doesn’t have a trustable spinning option. Ali’s off-spinners can be tough to deal with as he mixes up his stock deliveries with some doosras.
The last time Bhuvneshwar Kumar played in England, he was the wrecker in chief for India. It was the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in which Bhuvi had some dream performances. He had the habit of striking early with the new ball throughout the tournament. Bhuvi is an integral part of India’s ODI side for over a year has played only four tests and is yet to be unleashed in foreign soil. In the absence of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma’s place in a spot of bother, Bhuvi has the job of striking with the new ball and spearhead the bowling attack along with Mohammed Shami.
Everyone knows how deadly James Anderson and Stuart Broad can be in test matches. The English new ball duo was severe against India in the past and this time, they have the services of West Indian born Chris Jordon to back them. Jordon has been instrumental in the ICC World T20 that took place in March this year and the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka. He will be the X-Factor England will look to unleash against India in the 5 match test series. He can also trusted with the bat as he has the ability to chip in with few runs down the order.