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IND Vs ENG: Team India Opting For Change In Strategy Ahead Of 4th Test?

Team India will be looking to go for a different strategy ahead of the Ranchi Test starting 23rd February as their star pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been released from the squad and the likes of spinners like Washington Sundar and others available for selection against the Three Lions. India still lead the 5-match Test series 2-1 with a phenomenal 434-run win against the visitors.

Edited By : Shashwat Nishant | Updated: Feb 21, 2024 20:28 IST
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Team India

As Team India arrived in Ranchi, a notable absence was observed. Jasprit Bumrah, the key pace bowler who has been a significant challenge for England, was not part of the squad for the fourth Test. Reports from The Indian Express indicated that Bumrah has been given a break by the selectors and team management to manage his workload. Despite Bumrah’s eagerness to play all five Tests, he was advised to sit out the Ranchi Test considering the upcoming IPL, T20 World Cup, and other important assignments.

In the absence of Bumrah, India’s strategists are deliberating on his replacement in the XI. While spinners haven’t been as impactful in the series so far, it has been Bumrah who troubled England with his reverse swing. Although the workload management system hasn’t raised concerns yet, given Bumrah’s history of back issues, it was inevitable that he would miss a Test. Now, the focus is on deciding his replacement.

India Going For A Turner?

The decision on the replacement would largely hinge on the conditions in Ranchi. If the pitch favors turn, India may opt for Washington Sundar or Axar Patel to bolster the batting. Ranchi’s pitches, like those in previous venues, are traditionally slow and tend to deteriorate over the course of the Test. However, if India decides on a turning track, the groundstaff can manipulate the pitch conditions accordingly.

For the pace-bowling slot alongside Mohammed Siraj, India has Mukesh Kumar and the uncapped Akash Deep as options. However, Mukesh struggled in the lone Test he played on a flat deck in Vizag. With India leading the series 2-1, they are cautious about maintaining momentum, especially considering the conditions in Dharamsala, where England might find comfort.

Akash Deep showed promise against England Lions, but exposing a newcomer to Test cricket carries risks. Hence, the possibility of playing an extra spinner is being considered. Even in Vizag, where Siraj was rested, India initially planned to play Washington but eventually opted for Mukesh.

Regardless of the pitch conditions, India believes that adding another spinner would strengthen the team, considering both Washington and Axar’s batting abilities. However, concerns about playing on a rank turner persist due to India’s inexperienced batting lineup. A clearer decision is expected after head coach Rahul Dravid assesses the pitch on Wednesday afternoon.

Also Read: ICC Rankings: Ashwin, Jadeja Climb Up As Indians Dominate Bowling Charts

First published on: Feb 21, 2024 08:28 PM IST

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