India's Tour of England 2018 | Sportzwiki

India's Tour of England 2018

Rishabh Pant, Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri and Rishabh Pant Image Courtesy: Getty Images
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We’re Still the Number 1 Side in the World – Ravi Shastri

The Indian team had a very ordinary time touring England. They lost the Test series 1-4, and even head coach, Ravi Shastri had to eat back his words.

Shastri, known for his flamboyant image, backed the boys before the start of the tour. He had said the current side is by far the best Indian team to travel to foreign soil. To his misery, the results turned out to be different.

The England all-rounders had a great time, scoring runs with the bat and bagging wickets at all. One such player was Sam Curran, who impressed one and all from the start.

Curran bailed his side out of trouble on multiple occasions and bowled well too. Shastri said it was the young man who did much more damage alone than the entire squad.

“I would not say (we) failed badly. But we tried. We must give credit where it is due. Virat and me were asked to pick the Man of the Series (for England), and we both picked Sam Curran. Look where Curran has scored, and, that is where he hurt us. More than England, it was Curran who hurt us,” Shastri told ESPN Cricinfo in an interview.

Sam Curran, England vs India 2018
Sam Curran. (photo by Steve Feeney/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Ravi Shastri defends his side

India missed the plot in the very first game once the hosts recovered after losing six wickets inside 90 runs. India started off well with the bat but lost wickets in regular intervals.

“In the first Test, England were 87 for 7 (in the second innings) at Edgbaston, he (Curran) got the runs. In the fourth Test, they were 86 for 6 (first innings) in Southampton; he got the runs. We were 50 for 0 (first innings) at Edgbaston, he got the wickets. So at crucial stages in this series, he chipped in with runs and wickets. That was the difference between the two sides,” Shastri explained.

Ravi Shastri, England vs India 2018
Ravi Shastri says India is still the number one side in Tests despite results. Image Courtesy: Getty

On the criticism and mocking, the coach said his side is still number one in the rankings. He went on to say Joe Root and his men know that the Indian team pushed them hard to earn victories.

“We are still the No 1 team in the world. And England knows how well we fought. Their media knows how well we fought. Our fans know how well we fought. Their public knows how well we fought. We know inside how well we fought,” he added.

England vs India 2018, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar remains unconvinced about Shikhar Dhawan as a Test player. Image Courtesy: Getty
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I am Not Convinced with Shikhar Dhawan – Ajit Agarkar

The Indian team had a torrid time while they were in England. Opener Shikhar Dhawan struggled to get off the visitors to good starts. The southpaw managed to score mere 162 runs at an average of 20.25 from eight innings, as India lost the series 1-4. There were clouds over the selection of the left-hander, but he did get to play four out of the five games.

However, former India quick bowler, Ajit Agarkar isn’t much impressed with Dhawan’s recent run of for. He said he isn’t convinced about Dhawan playing red-ball cricket.

England vs India 2018, Shikhar Dhawan
Ajit Agarkar is not convinced about Dhawan playing Tests. Image Courtesy: Getty

Barring skipper Virat Kohli, no other Indian batter scored consistently. Kohli made 593 runs while the remaining players struggled to get past the 300-run mark. The line-up failed collectively as a whole.

Agarkar slams batters

Dhawan’s opening partner KL Rahul had a consolation ton to his name in the fifth Test. Keeping his 149 aside, the Karnataka-born cricketer managed to score just 150 runs in nine innings.

He along with young Rishabh Pant tried to bail India out of trouble at The Oval, but their respective tons couldn’t avoid yet another loss.

England vs India 2018, Ajit Agarkar
Rishabh Pant scored his maiden Test hundred at the Oval. Image Courtesy: Getty

Agarkar questions Dhawan’s red-ball credentials

“India have got a decent batting lineup. They need to get their batting right to get the results to go in India’s way. KL Rahul’s 100 has given some sort of confidence that he can open the innings. But, I am not convinced with Shikhar Dhawan. We got Pujara, Rahane and Virat in the middle-order. We don’t know whether they are better players than that. If India figures out their batting problems, they can win the games,” Ajit Agarkar said on ESPN Cricinfo show.

However, Ajit Agarkar praised the bowling unit, and he also said Pant needs to work on his keeping. The Indian keeper conceded quite a lot of extras, as India missed Wriddhiman Saha, who is nursing an injury.

England, India, Mohammad Kaif
Virat Kohli was consistent throughout the series. (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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England vs India 2018: India Played Far From Their Potential in UK: Mohammad Kaif

Team India had a rather forgettable series in England against a promising side led by Joe Root. A 4-1 margin shadows the fight Virat Kohli’s men put in, especially the bowling department. Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif believes the visitors played far from their potential.

Fans and eventually critics have gone hard on the team even though the management voiced their support for the players.

Virat Kohli, Sunil Gavaskar, India
Sunil Gavaskar reckons Virat Kohli lacks experience in captaincy at times. Credit: Getty Images

Kaif is quite active on the micro-blogging website Twitter. On Thursday (September 13), he took part in a Q&A session with his fans and expressed his thoughts on various issues.

One of his followers asked his opinion on the recently concluded Test series in the United Kingdom (UK). Kaif reiterated Indian side played far from their potential but subsequently credited the bowlers for putting up a good show. He also went to say that getting the tail out quickly could have added to their advantage.

England vs India 2018: India Played Far From Their Potential in UK: Mohammad Kaif 1
Mohammad Kaif reveals the name of his favourite cricketer.
(Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Kaif not impressed with India’s show

In his words, Kaif said: ”Played Far from potential. Bowlers were good in getting the top 6-7 out but consistently failed in getting the lower order out. Batsmen, barring Kohli, no one could be consistent.”

Many of the leading cricket pundits and former players slammed the Team India side for the poor run. Skipper Kohli isn’t too happy by the treatment.

England v India 2018, Virat Kohli, Michael Vaughan
Virat Kohli calls for a review. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“You can see how people conveniently want to target only one side. I’m not saying it’s not a fair scoreline because they deserved to win, but it doesn’t mean that we have been outplayed,” said Kolhi.

“Barring the second Test, we have been competitive in every game,” Kohli concluded.

Kohli scored close to 600 runs while no other batsman could reach the 300-mark. Clouds are looming over Shikhar Dhawan’s Test career while Murali Vijay has already been shown the door. India next plays the Asia Cup 2018, Kohli has been rested, and Rohit Sharma will lead the side in his absence.

England vs India 2018, Combined XI
Here is the combined XI of England and India from the recently-concluded Test series. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: Combined Test XI

India’s tour of England was a much-anticipated series. The fans witnessed excellent rivalry, sublime stroke-play, lethal spells apart from eye-catching work on the field. Though the scoreline of the series – 4-1, suggests a rather one-sided affair, in reality, it was a hard fought set of matches.

England beat India by 118 runs, win five-match Test series 4-1
Getty Images

At Birmingham, Virat Kohli’s men went down fighting, resulting in a 31-run narrow win for the hosts. At the Home of Cricket- Lord’s, the poms handed an innings defeat to the visiting team.

The series could have been done and dusted at Nottingham, but an inspirational comeback from the Indians ensured Southampton turns houseful. India lost the 4th Test by 60 runs, as England followed it up with a handsome 118-run victory at The Oval.

Now, we take a look at a combined Test XI featuring the best of cricketers from the recently-concluded Test series. Let us know, your XI too.

England vs India 2018, Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook.

1. Alastair Cook

The England opener finished his last Test series with 327 runs. But the fact of the matter is that the 33-year-old scored more than 200 runs in the fifth and final Test match.

The former skipper announced his retirement ahead of the fifth Test, and by then England had already sealed the series 3-1and he felt there is not much left in the tank which could motivate him to return next season.

Alastair Cook ended on a high just like his team. His drives through the off-side and the dabs on the on-side were complimented with applause.

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

2. Moeen Ali

Both the sides struggled to get solid starts throughout the Test series. While Cook lost count of the number of times he had to open an innings with a new face, India’s Shikhar Dhawan’s best performance of the series turned out to be the two-minute bhangra in front of the spectators at The Oval.

With the ball, Moeen Ali was magic. He bagged 12 wickets with a best of 5/63 that ensured a series win for the hosts. When it comes to batting, Ali scored 119 runs in two matches with a best of 50.

India ride Pujara's unbeaten 132 to post 273, take 27-run lead
Cheteshwar Pujara.

3. Cheteshwar Pujara

The curse of being Cheteshwar Pujara will someday make a great story. The right-hand batsman scored a total of 278 runs at an average close to 40.

An unbeaten 132 was the highlight for him, after getting dropped from the 1st Test. While he is known to consume the pressure and ensure that the ball turns an oldie, Pujara was far from his best.

India needed a strong guard who could complement the skipper. Pujara was hit in bits and pieces but failed to make a strong impact overall, resulting in a series loss.

England v India 2018: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

4. Virat Kohli

The 29-year-old India captain put all the queries of his ill-form in England to rest. Virat Kohli fetched 593 runs at an average of 59.30. He started off with a magnificent 149 in the first Test match and batted with precision. With three fifties and two tons, he is way ahead of all the other batters.

The leader in Kohli might not have risen to the occasion all the time, but the willow did do the talking.

Virat Kohli is the only cricketer to have faced more than 1000 balls in the series and made the highlight package worth a watch.

England v India 2018, Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli
Ben Stokes appeals against Virat Kohli. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

5. Ben Stokes

There were clouds looming over his selection in the playing XI but Ben Stokes gave his 100% with both the bat and ball.

Ben Stokes stitched vital partnerships in the middle and picked up wickets at crucial intervals. With 200 runs and 14 wickets under his kitty, Stokes turned out to be an asset.

Jos Buttler, England vs India 2018
Jos Buttler.

6. Jos Buttler

Let’s not put too much attention on what he writes in his bat because Jos Buttler has been England’s leading man whole through the season. He threatened to take the game away from India at Trent Bridge with a gutsy hundred and kept finding the gaps at a time when others struggled to put bat to ball.

He is second on the list with most runs scored in the series – 349 runs at an average of 38.77. And is the perfect man to replace Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.

England v India 2018, Sam Curran
Sam Curran was the pick of the England bowlers in the first innings. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

7. Sam Curran

The Surrey all-rounder is the find of the series for England. The Indian bowlers had a tough time breaching his promising stay at the crease. Sam Curran stood tall between victory and India and as the scoreline suggests, he won most of the battles hands down.

He scored 272 runs and scalped 11 wickets. The youngster keeps experienced campaigner Chris Woakes at bay, as he is the elite all-rounder in the XI.

England vs India 2018, Ravindra Jadeja, Michael Vaughan
Ravindra Jadeja celebrates his fifty.

8. Ravindra Jadeja

The India all-rounder had to polish off his sword after being out in the cold for most part of the season. But the street smart cricketer made his case with an unbeaten 86 off 156 balls. He batted well with the tail-enders and took India to a respectable total.

He bagged a total of seven wickets at The Oval but ended up on the losing side. Jadeja is a captain’s delight, as he is also a sharp fielder.

England vs India 2018, Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad. Getty

9. Stuart Broad

The veteran pacer bagged a total of 16 wickets in the series. He along with James Anderson troubled the Indians which resulted in 40 wickets in total. On a larger picture, Broad would have thought of claiming more sticks but with all the English bowlers doing their job to perfection, the pacer did well to sum it up.

Ishant credits Sussex stint for success in England
Ishant Sharma.

10. Ishant Sharma

He is aggressive, knows his game well and is currently India’s spearhead bowler. India missed him dearly in the final Test match. Ishant Sharma walked off the field with ankle pain and India were a bowler short.

Ishant troubled the Englishmen in their own backyard. The Indian Indian pacer battery did a commanding job and the Delhi pacer deserves much of the credit.

Anderson fined by ICC for showing dissent
James Anderson.

11. James Anderson

The most successful pacer in the history of Test cricket is the final addition to the XI. Jimmy Anderson was England’s main man with the ball and he led in style. Though he failed to bag the prized scalp of Kohli, even after getting former to edge a few, Anderson is a hero at the end of the tale.

At 36, he played all the five Test matches, picked 24 wickets and helped his side win the series. You just can’t ask for more from an elite performer like him.

James Anderson, Alastair Cook
James Anderson says Alastair Cook should have retired two years back. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: Alastair Cook Should’ve Retired 2 Years Ago – James Anderson

England pacer, James Anderson is currently trending on the internet. It is not his impressive swingers which are making fans take note of him. Instead, his remarks on soon to be retired Alastair Cook has gone through the lane like wildfire.

The 36-year-old sent out a tribute to his former skipper, as Cook announced his retirement from international cricket last week. The ongoing Test match at The Oval against India will be his final game at the international level. Od late only, Alastair Cook had signed a deal with County club Essex.

James Anderson, Alastair Cook
James Anderson says Alastair Cook should have retired two years back. Image Courtesy: Getty

The Anderson-Cook banter

Anderson called Cook a ‘bore-off’ and added the latter should have retired two years back.

However, Alastair Cook has played 159 consecutive Test matches for England, which stands as a record for the longest streak. The opener has notched up 12,254 runs in Test at an average of 44.88. He also has 32 tons and 56 half-centuries in Tests.

Hosts look to serve fitting farewell to Cook

The hosts have taken a solid lead of over a hundred, and they still have eight wickets in hands.

Cook will look to bow out with a three-figure score. He missed out on the mark in the first innings, as he got dismissed for 71. However, England had sealed the series 3-1 and will look to extend it at the Oval.

England vs India 2018, Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook was given the guard of honour in his last Test at the Oval. Image Courtesy: Getty

Alastair Cook as a skipper was phenomenal too. He led his side to 59 Tests, winning 24 of them. He is tied with Andrew Strauss, the second most for the poms behind Michael Vaughan.

The hosts will look to give a fitting farewell to their leading man. The 33-year-old received numerous accolades from the cricketing circuit after calling time on his career. The Indian team gave him a guard of honour before the start of play on day one.

Gautam Gambhir says India can still make amends in the Oval Test against England. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: In International Cricket, it is all About Winning – Gautam Gambhir

Veteran India opener, Gautam Gambhir won’t switch off the television even though the final Test match at The Oval is nothing but a dead rubber. England had already sealed the series 3-1, and Virat Kohli’s men have no way of making a comeback this late.

England vs India 2018, Gautam Gambhir
Virat Kohli-led India has lost the five-match Test series against England.

India came cross to crossing the line but lost the Southampton Test by 60 runs. The visitors failed to seize the opportunity while England grabbed them with both hands.

Alastair Cook’s farewell Test has moved the spotlight from the Indian team for a fair bit of time, but the lads will have to play out their skin to take some pride back.

India have put the hosts under pressure – Gambhir

“Looking forward to the last Test. Obviously, the series is done and dusted. But India has everything to play for. They have competed really well. But in international cricket, it is not only about competing but winning Test matches. The positive has been the bowling attack. They have put England under pressure all the time. It’s just that the batters haven’t been able to put runs on the board,” Gambhir said in his video column to ToI.

England vs India 2018, Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook is playing his last Test against India at the Oval. Image Courtesy: Getty

Gambhir felt India could have taken the upper hand in the series but failed to chase down tricky totals. Chasing 245 in the fourth Test, India lost their last seven wickets for 61 runs.

“There were two instances in Edgbaston and Southampton where India could have won both the Test matches. They should have chased both the targets down. But it just didn’t happen. So I feel India would be looking to win the 5th Test match and make it 3-2 rather than 4-1. Looking forward to the match. Oval is a great venue to host a Test match,” Gambhir asserted.

Ravi Shastri, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag
Ganguly and Sehwag have lashed out at Ravi Shastri over his comments on the side's overseas records. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly Lash Out at Ravi Shastri

There is no denying the fact that the team management plays a huge role in the team’s selection and style of play. Fortunately, India got a great staff that yielded results for the team from past couple of years but, they missed it when it mattered the most. Meanwhile, Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly want Ravi Shastri to improve.

The former skipper of India, Sourav Ganguly isn’t impressed with the skills displayed by the Indian players.

He felt the batsmen had lost their charm which they used to carry before heading to the overseas tour.

Ravi Shastri has to improve the team – Sourav Ganguly

The member of Cricket Advisory Committee, Sourav Ganguly quoted the head coach of the team, Ravi Shastri should take the responsibility along Virat Kohli. He added they need to sort out the problem in the batting section.

Sourav Ganguly, Ravi Shastri, Virender Sehwag
Sourav Ganguly (credits – Twitter)

Further, Sourav Ganguly spoke about the assistant coach, Sanjay Bangar who needs to improve the batting sorts of India. He feels there is a decline in India’s batting display rather than strengthening.

“If Ravi Shastri has been given the responsibility of the team along with Virat Kohli, then he [Shastri] has to improve the team,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India TV channel.

“It is important to talk to Bangar as well that why only one batsman [Kohli] is performing, whereas others seem to have taken backward steps. Unless these questions are answered, an overseas series win in the three countries [England, Australia and South Africa] looks impossible for India,” he added.

England vs India 2018, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly
Virender Sehwag Photo Credit: Web.

It is not words, performances matters for Virender Sehwag:

Meanwhile, the swashbuckling opener, Virender Sehwag threw quite a statement on the team. He wants the team not to give the comments when the performance is not matching the words. Further, he wants batsman and bowlers to perform equally.

“We will become the best travelling team when batsmen and bowlers contribute equally. The best travelling team does not happen with just words. It is done through performance. And performance happens on the ground and not in the dressing room. Till the time the bat does not do the talking, these big statements hold no meaning,” he said. 

However, it would be interesting to see how Team India management will come with their excuse. Probably, the final Test of the series will unlock many queries over the cricketing skills of few players in the team and also the plans of the team management.

Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin
Harbhajan Singh says Ravichandran Ashwin was the reason India lost the Test series. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: Ravichandran Ashwin is the Reason Behind India’s 1-3 Defeat – Harbhajan Singh

The difference between Moeen Ali and Ravichandran Ashwin is the perfect example that what a mindset can do to a player. Moeen Ali ended up bagging man of the match award in Southampton while R Ashwin received criticism for his spell. Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh joins the list to blame Ashwin for the series loss.

Ravichandran Ashwin was struggling with his fitness ahead of the fourth Test but managed to find a place in the side.

Despite pitch assisting for the spinners, Ashwin failed to deliver the goods for the team thus letting the side down.

Ravichandran Ashwin not being able to take wickets is the reason for the loss – Harbhajan Singh

The veteran off-spinner explained the reason behind Ashwin’s failure in the series. He compared him to Moeen Ali, who bowled exceptionally to rattle the defence of the Indian batsman often than not.

Harbhajan Singh, Ravi Ashwin
Harbhajan Singh (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

Harbhajan added he has never seen any overseas spinner bowling so well compared to the Indian spinner.

He went on to blame Ravichandran Ashwin for the loss of the series, as Ashwin failed to execute his plans.

“India lost the match where Moeen Ali bowled better than R Ashwin. For the first time, I saw England spinners bowling better than our spinners. Him (Ashwin) not being able to take wickets is the reason why we are 1-3 behind in the series,” said the veteran Harbhajan Singh.

England vs India 2018, Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. Image Courtesy: Getty

“Moeen Ali was making a comeback in the England team and won the Man of the Match award. He is a very good bowler though does not rate himself so highly. He will always bowl better than the rest as his trajectory is very good. Indian team has not been able to find any solution to his bowling since 2014 when he performed exceptionally well against us at the same venue,” Harbhajan said.

Ravi Ashwin might miss the fifth Test –

Meanwhile, the lack of fitness might see Ashwin missing the fifth Test at The Kennington Oval, London. He is struggling with his groin injury, and probably, Ravindra Jadeja might replace him.

Ian Bell. England vs India 2018
Ian Bell says he would love to be back for the fifth Test against India at the Oval. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: If England Call, I Will Surely Answer – Ian Bell

At a time when the Englishmen are struggling to face up to the Indian pace attack, Ian Bell is scoring in bulks. The veteran batsman made a stylish 204 against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay. On Thursday, Bell went past the magical landmark of 20,000 first-class runs.

It was Bell’s fourth hundred in the ongoing County Championship, and none of the other batters has been able to match-up to him. The in-form batter also revealed he is open to making a comeback in national colours. And his statement made fans chant for his recall.

Ian Bell. England vs India 2018
Ian Bell says he would love to be back for the fifth Test against India at the Oval. Image Courtesy: Getty

Ian Bell open to a comeback

“I’m happy. I’m playing well, I’m moving well and enjoying my cricket, and the expectation and drive is here,” Bell told BBC WM after his marathon 204 effort.

“Who knows what the next 12 months holds? [If England call] I’m sure I’ll answer the phone,” he said.

The timing of the knock couldn’t have been better, as the England side lost the third Test to India and their batters failed to put up a single 50 in the first innings of the 4th Test. The hosts have conceded a lead and are now at backfoot.

Ian Bell
Ian Bell last played a Test for England in 2015. Image Courtesy: Getty

The right-hand batsman has played 118 Tests so far and was involved in the famous rivalry again Australia in Ashes. Bell has scored 7727 runs at an impressive average of 42.69.

Bell has 46 fifties and 22 tons under his kitty. A poor 2017 season forced him to think about quitting the sport but time away from the game helped him. Ian Bell has scored 871 runs in the ten games he has appeared this season. He averages 62.21 and has been helping his side post solid totals. Looking at the current situation, the return of Ian Bell seems viable, and it happens, the England fans would cherish it.

England vs India 2018, Southampton Test
India captain Virat Kohli is likely to field the same XI for the Southampton Test. Image Courtesy: Getty
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England vs India 2018: Virat Kohli Likely to Field Same XI in Southampton Test

India will go into the Southampton Test against England with a lot of heart. The visitors have made an impressive turn around in the ongoing five-match Test series, winning the 3rd game convincingly. The 4th Test at the Rose Bowl will provide a chance for Virat Kohli and his men to make it 2-2.

England vs India 2018, Southampton Test
England beat India by 203 runs in the third Test at Trent Bridge.

India likely to go with the same XI

According to the reports, skipper Virat Kohli is expected to field an unchanged eleven for the game at Southampton. However, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had suffered a groin injury, but he looked fine at nets.

The ace spinner wasn’t cent per cent fit for the third Test, but the management went ahead with him. He is likely to be fit for the game on Thursday, which is good news for the team.

The spinner bowled just one over in England’s first innings and managed to pick up a lone wicket on the last day of the Test. A stunning 203-run victory also means Joe Root will have to get his work cut out, as the hosts can’t afford to get complacent.

Virat Kohli sounded confident at the press conference and hinted at an unchanged line-up for the all-important game.

“As things stand, we don’t feel the need to change anything,” Virat Kohli said in the press conference.

At the other camp, England has named their squad for the 4th Test. Jonny Bairstow, who sustained a minor fracture in Nottingham, is fit to play but he won’t be keeping wickets.

All-rounder Moeen Ali is back in the team and Sam Curran has been recalled as well.

England v India 2018, Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow had to leave the field. Getty Images

“Chris Woakes is not fit to play this week and Ben Stokes has a slight issue so for the balance of the side Moeen Ali comes in for Ollie Pope,” Root said.

“Jos Buttler is going to keep. It’s a lot to ask Jonny to do it with a broken finger, but he’s fit to bat. We have to do the best thing for this team to win the game. There are no guarantees in international sport.”

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