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IND vs ENG Ranchi Test: In panic mode, England face selection dilemma

IND vs ENG Ranchi Test: In panic mode, England face selection dilemma

Jonny Bairstow's off-form, James Anderson and Tom Hartley's wokload a concern for Ben Stokes & Co ahead of IND vs ENG Ranchi Test.

England Cricket Team are in a bit of a soup. Despite going off to a flying start with win in Hyderabad, Ben Stokes & Co have fallen flat including their latest record 434-run loss in Rajkot. And with that, questions have begun to arise. As IND vs ENG Ranchi Test will be their only opportunity to save the series before moving to Dharamsala, England are looking at changes. There are unanswered questions:

  1. Should James Anderson play?
  2. Is there a place for struggling Jonny Bairstow?
  3. Shoaib Bashir returns?
  4. Will Ben Stokes bowl?

Jonny Bairstow dilemma

The biggest concern for England is Jonny Bairstow’s form. Bairstow has scored 37, 10, 25, 26, 0 & 4 in six innings so far. And with that, questions have begun to arise whether England should look at Dan Lawrence?

However, England head coach Brendon McCullum is not looking to drop Bairstow.

“I’d anticipate Jonny would be playing, yes. Yeah look, he’s not scored the volume of runs he would have wanted. I don’t have concerns over him. I’m not blind but he’s done so well for us and he’s had such an impactful career. We know that a top-quality Jonny Bairstow is as good as anyone in any conditions. So from our point of view, we’ve got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise as well,” Brendon McCullum said.

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James Anderson to rest?

In two matches that James Anderson played, the 41-year-old bowled 73 overs. And with Dharamsala being the only venue where there could be some swing on offer, England are unlikely to overwork Anderson. And hence, Ollie Robinson is likely to replace Anders in IND vs ENG Ranchi Test.

There is also Gus Atkinson who has warmed the bench so far. England could look at an overhaul of pace attack going with Gus Atkinson and Ollie Robinson instead of Anderson-Wood.

Shoaib Bashir returns?

Despite starting well, England’s spin attack has looked jaded. Rehan Ahmed hasn’t had the returns while Tom Hartley after his 7-fer on debut has had mixed success.

Even though Shoaib Bashir could only manage four wickets on debut in Vizag, England are likley to rotate the spin attack. Shoaib Bashir returns to replace Tom Hartley who has bowled 159.2 overs already in three Tests. He has bowled the most in the IND vs ENG Test series.

Will Ben Stokes bowl?

England have lost the balance with Ben Stokes absent from bowling. Since his knee surgery, Ben Stokes has only bowled at nets in short bursts but he is yet to return to bowling in international matches. And that is where England need their captain to take up the bowl and make things happen.

“It’s good he’s actually getting into a state where he thinks he might bowl,” he said.

“Ben is clever. He won’t bowl unless he thinks he’s legitimately able to. We’ll see what unfolds,” Brendon McCullum clarified.

England Squad: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes(c), Ben Foakes(w), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, James Anderson, Shoaib Bashir, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Daniel Lawrence, Gus Atkinson

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