The India vs England 2021 series resumes international cricket in the country with Virat Kohli returning back as the captain of the Indian cricket team. He is back after the birth of his first child to lead against England in a four-match Test series with the first Test starting on Friday in Chennai.
Chennai will host the first two Tests. The final two Tests will be played at the newly built stadium in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad will host the T20I series followed by Pune for the ODI series.
Virat Kohli is a man on a mission as he leads the Indian team in the first Test with a spot in the World Test Championship final up for grabs. He is back after a layoff after missing the first Test. The return of Ishant Sharma along with him means India head into the series with a full-strength squad. There are enough options for selection and that it is being played in India means Team India will enjoy the home advantage.
The team is well-balanced on both batting and bowling departments and in terms of quality and experience as well compared to their opponents England. Shubman Gill is expected to open alongside Rohit Sharma with Cheteshar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant strengthening the batting line-up.
India vs England 1st Test: Chepauk-A Spinner’s Paradise
Bowling wise, if reports are to be believed, India might go in with three spinners and two pacers making a line-up of five specialist bowlers.
If India are to book a berth in the WTC finals, they need to beat England in the series by a margin of either 4-0, 3-0,3-1 o 2-0. Meanwhile, New Zealand have already reached the finals after the postponement of the South Africa-Australia series. The loser of this series is almost out of the race for the finals.
India’s opponents England too have a good team at their disposal. They head into the series after a Test series win over Sri Lanka in almost similar playing conditions. Barring Joe Root none of the other batsmen were able to score runs as their inability to play spin was exposed in the series. India will target this weakness of theirs in this series as well. Root thus will be the key batsmen for his team in the series.
Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Moeen Ali, and two specialist spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach are the other key players in the side. Both Anderson and Broad do not have good success in India which will be at the back of their minds. Meanwhile, Stokes as a specialist all-rounder will need to step up his game in this series.
India vs England: Head To Head in India
India vs England: Current WTC Standings
Pitch & Weather Conditions:
Spinners are expected to dictate terms in the first two Tests in Chennai. The team selection will heavily depend on how many spinners would both teams be interested in playing. Both teams are at least expected to play two spinners at least.
Meanwhile, the last time both these teams played a Test match here, India wracked up a mammoth 759-7, with Ravindra Jadeja picking 10 wickets in the match to help India win. To give an idea of how the pitch behaves in Chennai, the average first innings score is 337, which drops to 157 in the fourth innings. Thus the team winning the toss would definitely like to put a huge score on the board.
Team News: India vs England 1st Test
England has received an early blow as Zak Crawley has been ruled out for the first two Tests with wrist injury. However, they have enough options left in the tank to counter his absence. Meanwhile, Moeen Ali is expected to return after missing out the Sri Lanka series in place of Dom Bess. Ali will also add depth to the England batting line-up and has prior experience of playing in India.
On the other hand, India will be buoyed by the return of skipper Virat Kohli and veteran Ishant Sharma to form together a full-strength squad. The big question however is whether India will go in with two or three specialist spinners. In case they go in with two, Kuldeep Yadav might have to wait for his opportunity longer as per reports. Meanwhile, Vira Kohli has confirmed that Rishabh Pant will keep wickets in the first Test.
Squads For The First Two Tests
Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, KL Rahul, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha
Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Daniel Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Ben Foakes, Olly Stone, Dominic Bess