Virat Kohli-led India will lock horns with England on Wednesday, August 4 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The 5-match Test series will be part of the second cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC). Meanwhile former India pacer Ashish Nehra has opined that if Rohit Sharma has a good England tour, the chances of India winning the Test series would increase. Also, he believes KL Rahul should open the innings with Rohit Sharma.
Notably, India has already lost two opening batsmen ahead of the England Test series. Mayank Agarwal suffered an injury on his head yesterday and has been ruled out of the first Test match. Also first-choice opener Shubman Gill was ruled out earlier after a shin injury. So Rohit Sharma will have to find a new partner for the first Test game. Ashish Nehra feels that KL Rahul should open the innings with Hitman.
NEWS 🚨- Mayank Agarwal ruled out of first Test due to concussion.
The 30-year-old is stable and will remain under close medical observation.
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 2, 2021
“The team management earlier said that we are looking at KL Rahul in the middle order. But see, I have seen KL Rahul as an opener in white-ball format. Before Hanuma Vihari, why not KL Rahul? Although I already feel that we have too many people floating around the opening slot, I hope Rohit plays all Tests. If I had to take chance, I would rather go in with KL Rahul as an opener,” said Nehra during a virtual press conference organized by Sony Network.
“I really hope Rohit Sharma has a good England tour. If he has a good tour, then we as a team, our chances will be much better. If you can start well, it will keep a strong foundation,” he added.
When questioned about whether Mohammed Siraj should be included in the first Test match, Ashish Nehra asserted:
“Yes, Mohammed Siraj is waiting in the wings but he has to wait for his turn. Everybody knows that Siraj is a very skillful bowler but here you are talking about a guy like Jasprit Bumrah who has done really well in the last five-six years since his arrival. You have to start with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma.”
“If you want a fourth fast bowler, we are not there, the captain, coach, and team management can take a call based on who has been bowling well. Whether you want to go with Umesh Yadav or you want to play Siraj. But if you are playing three seamers then you will start with Bumrah, Shami, and Ishant unless there is an injury to any of them.”
“I don’t agree that you need only swing bowlers in England” – Ashish Nehra
Many believe that to achieve success in English conditions you need only swing bowlers. However Nehra thinks differently, he said that he does not agree that only swing bowlers can get success in England he gave the example of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
“I don’t agree that you need only swing bowlers in England. Look at somebody like Stuart Broad. Even Jofra Archer is not a swing bowler. But they are England’s main weapons, so a lot depends on how you bowl and it’s not like Bumrah or Shami can’t swing the ball or they need one particular surface to achieve results,” said Nehra.
“India has to play really well to defeat England in England” – Ashish Nehra
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 2, 2021
Notably, star all-rounder, Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the India series. Stokes has taken an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental well-being and recovery from a finger injury. Nehra was asked whether India has the best possible opportunity to beat England in England in the absence of Ben Stokes. Ashish Nehra elaborated:
“See, you cannot say this is the best opportunity. In 2007, India won 1-0 when Rahul Dravid was the captain, but you should not think of it like a now or never situation. England has resources, new players are coming in and they are going through a transition. Ben Stokes is not there, but Buttler is there. You are talking about a team sport, Stokes is an all-rounder, but that can happen to any team. India has to play really well to defeat England in England.”
Ashish Nehra was also asked about what bowling of combination India should opt for in the Test series against England. Nehra responded:
“It all depends on the surface you are playing. When you talk about three-four seamers, these discussions just happen when you are playing in England, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand. There is more life on the pitches, I agree but it is not like there is swing available on every pitch you play.”