England after back-to-back series losses in the longest format are all set to take on the World No.2 India in what will be a 5-match Test series that is scheduled to take place from the 4th of August. The series will mark the beginning of the new cycle of the World Test championship.
The English side were completely outplayed in their last tour to India and they were not spared by the in-form Kiwis side as well in the 2-match Test series that took place in their own backyard.
However, the team have taken their time to revitalize themselves and the break combined with the fact that England can be very strong in their home conditions is likely to make this series a lung-opener. England were also struck with a huge blow as their key all-rounder Ben Stokes made himself unavailable for the tour owing to personal reasons. The 30-year is set to be replaced by bowling all-rounder Craig Overton.
"Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing."— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 30, 2021
We're all with you, Stokesy ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6HmEzmCxvw
England Squad (First 2 Tests):
Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Craig Overton, Dominic Sibley, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson.
Cricwizz, today takes a look at the top 5 players to look out for against team India in the upcoming Pataudi Trophy.
1) Joe Root
The English skipper has been in a rough patch barring his exemplary innings in the first match of the Test series against India where he scored 218. Following the double century, the skipper has not managed to cross the 50 run mark, with his best score being 42 against the Kiwis. The team will be hoping Root can strike his prime form and pile on the runs in the all-important series.
The 30-year old is also just 286 runs away from being only the second English to score 9000 Test runs and also become the second-highest run-getter for England in Tests. He is also a win away from overtaking Micheal Vaughan for the most Test wins as a skipper for England. Can he break the records in this series? Lots to watch out for in this series.
Joe Root's stats in England
2) James Anderson
Despite not his comfort zone, the veteran pacers still managed to trouble the Indian batsmen at their home. Anderson could prove deadly with the brand-new balls and conditions that favor fast bowling. He definitely holds the key role in this series as his experience will prove vital against the batsmen of the calibers of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
It is safe to say that given England follows the rotation policy, the 39-year old might not be part of all 5 matches but he is certain to make a huge impact in the ones he makes his presence. Anderson, who has 617 wickets to his name is also exceedingly close to overtaking former Indian legend Anil Kumble's wicket tally of 619 wickets.
3) Rory Burns
The English flamboyant opener was the lone wolf in the series against New Zealand. The 30- year was seen in tremendous form against the Kiwis and he will be hoping he can replicate the performance against the strong Indian bowling unit.
However, it is also to be noted that Burns has fallen victim to spinners on several occasions and the pair of Ashwin and Jadeja could give the opener all sorts of trouble. Can Rory Burns win the battle against the foxy spinner Ravichandran Ashwin? Irrespective of the key battle, we are promised some exciting action between the duo.
4) Sam Curran
A close companion to most of the Indian players, thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL). Sam Curran will hold nothing back when it comes to taking the field. The youngster has blossomed throughout his career and he has been a dynamite performer in both franchise and national level cricket.
Curran’s contribution with the bat and ball will be vital in the series and he is undoubtedly one of the best bowling all-rounders currently. Curran was not part of the line-ups against India and New Zealand and he will be hoping to make this opportunity count and cement his place in the England Test side.
5) Jonny Bairstow
Likely to get the positive nod ahead of Buttler as the wicket-keeper, this series will stand to be a huge one for the destructive Bairstow. The 31-year old did showcase some scintillating performances in the limited-overs fixtures against Sri Lanka. He has been having a very hard time in the longest format as he failed to make an impact in the last couple of series that took place against India and England.
However, his ability to play spin better than most of the English batsmen combined with his ability to play shots all around the park could come in handy in this series and the series could also be a deciding factor on the fate of his participation in red-ball cricket contests.
With the 5-matches series around the corner, which English player do you think could be the key player for the English side? Do let us know in the comments if you feel we are missing out on any player to look out for. Also, do read Cricwizz’s top 5 Indian players to watch out for.