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India vs England: Smarting India think tank planning slew of changes for five-match series against England | Cricket News – Times of India

June 26, 2021

MUMBAI: With close to 40 days left before India and England walk out at Trent Bridge to start the much-awaited five-match Test series, Team India is getting busy tying out all loose ends. They’ve requested the BCCI to ask the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for two four-day warm-up matches in July. One of those two matches will be against England Lions (their ‘A’ team) while the other is still work in progress.
Lack of similar preparation ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final hurt this Indian team against New Zealand that had just won a series against England. The team arrived in London from Southampton on Thursday and will be based there until the warm-ups begin. There are are some questions though.
Top-order woes:
Shubhman Gill’s last seven Test innings read 0, 14, 11, 15*, 0, 28, 8. Cheteshwar Pujara has gone 35 innings now without a century. Virat Kohli averaged 19.33 in 2020 and 28.63 so far in 2021. Ajinkya Rahane has 125 Test innings under his belt and a batting average of 41.12 to show for it. Rishabh Pant has shown amazing talent at this level and an equal amount of impulsiveness that needs ironing out.
There are discussions going on— the possibility of Kohli moving up to the No. 3 slot and a Hanuma Vihari or KL Rahul coming into the middle-order — which could be at the cost of a Pujara. The message for the Test specialist is a simple one — change the approach or make way.

Bowling worries:
Jasprit Bumrah was found searching for the right length. He has around five weeks to sort it out. Ishant Sharma, for a body riddled with injuries, has finished 14 years of Test cricket already — a time-span that is bound to take its toll despite the pacer being only 32. Mohammed Shami has been magical but, the body’s taken too much beating already. India realised during the Test against New Zealand – a four-pronged pace attack will have to be in place against England.
Expect Mohammed Siraj to play every Test against England and Avesh Khan, the 24-year-old MP pacer to get drafted in the eleven sooner or later. In fact, Siraj not playing the WTC final is, in hindsight, being seen as an “opportunity missed”. The team management is also looking at using Shardul Thakur as an all-rounder.

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