India vs England 2021 test series — The final before the final.
Due to England’s bio-bubble efforts, cricket came back in these COVID circumstances. Because of India, Test cricket came alive. England are a team on the rise and dream to repeat the magic of 2012, while India are favorites to seal the other WTC final spot.
All to play for with Channel 4 back into play in the UK. The world is watching. Here is what your should expect.
*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.
When and Where?
Here are the dates and the venue for the India Vs EnglnTest Series.
Problems of Plenty For India. Choose the XI Wisely or Risk It All?
- India’s depth has been as good as ever. Looks like India can field 2 separate Tests XI, an ODI XI, and a T20I XI without any overlap with ready youngsters in the waiting.
- Pant should be the first-choice keeper given his recent exploits in Australia, with Saha, KL Rahul, & KS Bharat waiting in the wings.
- Shahbaz Nadeem, a veteran of 443 wickets, with match figures of 4/40 of his only Test is the 22rd player in the squad (see below). Oh yeah, that is with Vihari & Jadeja missing due to injury.
- Mayank Agarwal: 5 Tests, 3 100s, best of 243, Bradman-esque average of 99.5 in India, and he may struggle to get into the XI given Sharma-Gill’s impressive showing.
- Despite bench strength, India are missing their 3-in-1 player Ravindra Jadeja. In home conditions, he is especially lethal with 157 wickets at 21.06 and a healthy batting average of 38.9. Can an assortment of Axar-Ashwin-Kuldeep-Sundar-Pandya fulfill Jadeja’s role?
- Virat Kohli had an underwhelming year by his standards in 2019 & 2020. Post-fatherhood and India’s remarkable victory in Australia, we may witness a Kohli 2.0 emerging. I have a feeling he will begin the series with a couple of attritional knocks and convert into a daddy hundred/double by the end of it.
Can The Aspiring Visitors Repeat 2012 Magic With a Mix of Youth & Experience?
- ‘Rest’ to Bairstow (Buttler later), Sam Curran, & Mark Wood, & Zak Crawley (training injury) will test the English, but they need not worry. The return of Rory Burns (opener), Ollie Pope (middle order), Ben Stokes (all-rounder), Moeen Ali (spinner), & Jofra Archer (fast bowler) will boost all the major areas required for an ideal Test XI.
- Joe Root is all set for his 100th Test match. In the sort of form Joe Root was in his glorious performance against Sri Lanka, he is looking to convert all his 50s into double centuries this year. He is already an all-time great.
- England’s chances rest with the openers. If the inexperienced Burns-Sibley-Lawrence can fend off the new ball, there is enough quality in the Root-Buttler-Stokes to trouble Indian spinners.
- It will be interesting to see how England rotates their bowlers. Only one of Anderson/Broad will play alongside Jofra Archer/Mark Wood (later). Whether they go with the extra spin of Moeen Ali or the all-round swing ability of Sam Curran/Woakes will be crucial.
Key Matchups To Watch Out For
- Channel 4 Vs The English Public: Channel 4 is back to free-to-air television after a long suspense. Time to inspire the next generation.
- Leach-Bess Vs Ashwin: The young English had decent figures in Sri Lanka without being outstanding. This is their time to match one of the best in the business and hero of Sydney, R Ashwin. 4 good tests, and legendary status beckons. 2 poor tests, and Amar Virdi is waiting.
- Ishant Sharma 1.0 was the young, lanky fast bowler that bamboozled the great Ricky Ponting. Sharma 2.0 was dubbed ‘unlucky’ as he beat the bat without any reward. Ishant 3.0 came back with spells like 7/74 and the West Indies tour. Without much cricket in 2020, a spout of injuries, and stranded at 297 wickets, it is time for Ishant Sharma 4.0.
Verdict: 1-1 Draw
|Player of the Series/MVP||Joe Root||Virat Kohli|
|Most Runs||Rory Burns||Virat Kohli|
|Most Wickets||Ben Stokes||Ravichandran Ashwin|
|Emerging Player||Channel 4||Ishant Sharma 4.0|
|Surprise Package||Ben Foakes (after 2nd Test)||Axar Patel|
This England team has potential, with visible flaws. This Indian team is coming off an epic high, but needs to make sure to not become complacent. Who knows, England might pull an India?
Earlier we argued that the recent India vs Australia series was the greatest cricket story of all time, and the 2005 Ashes was the greatest Test series of all time.
You know what would be great?
If this upcoming India vs England 2021 series is better than them both with the Test cricket capturing Channel 4 audience’s imagination and inspiring a generation. Hoping for a high-intensity 1-1 Draw.
Let’s wait and watch. Sit back & enjoy.
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My Starting XI:
These are my starting XI for the first Test (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).
India (First 2 Tests):
- Rohit Sharma, 2. Shubman Gill, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli*, 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Rishabh Pant (WK), 7. Axar Patel, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Ishant Sharma, 10. Mohammad Siraj, 11. Jasprit Bumrah
England (First 2 Tests):
- Rory Burns, 2. Dom Sibley, 3. Dan Lawrence/Ollie Pope, 4. Joe Root*, 5. Jos Buttler (WK), 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Mooen Ali, 8. Dom Bess 9. Jofra Archer 10. Jack Leach, 11. James Anderson
These are the other options in the squads. Note, India has 2 squads – for the first 2 and last 2 Tests respectively
India: Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), KL Rahul (WK), Mayank Agarwal, Hardik Pandya
India (Standby): Rahul Chahar, Kona Srikar Bharat (WK), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem
England: Stuart Broad, Zak Crawley (injury in training), Ben Foakes (WK), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes
England (Standby): James Bracey, Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Amar Virdi
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