After huge defeat, Team India expected to overhaul spin department for 2nd England test
Following India's 227-run loss against England in the first test match, the home team will consider at least two changes in their playing XI to attain parity in the series.
With the exception of Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked up his 28th 5-wicket haul in test cricket at Chepauk, the other two Indian spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar lacked control and penetration in Chennai.
"I don't think we put enough pressure on them with the ball in the first half. Collectively as a bowling unit, fast bowlers and Ash, were good in the first innings but we also needed to contain a few more runs and create pressure," Kohli said after the defeat. " If Washi and Shahbaz had also bowled such economical spells, then you create more pressure, you cut out 80-90 runs from the opposition."
India are expected to swap both of them with other options available in the squad to give themselves the best chance of winning the 2nd test match, set to be played at the same venue.
Axar Patel in for Shahbaz Nadeem
Apart from Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian bowling struggled to maintain pressure on the batsmen for long periods as a unit. The team was successful in keeping the runs dry and creating pressure from one end but there were one or two boundary balls in every over more often than not from the other end, which never really forced the English batsmen to do anything out of the ordinary.
The biggest disappointment was Shahbaz Nadeem who was expected to be a close enough replacement for the injured left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, whose absence was strongly felt at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Nadeem lacked control in the first innings and conceded as many as 167 runs from his 44 overs, the most by an Indian bowler.
He could only manage 4 maiden overs and bowled 6 no balls, which did not help his economy rate of 3.80. Alongside Washington Sundar, Nadeem was the most expensive bowler for India and this meant that the team could not get the control they were looking for.
Nadeem was not meant to play the test match at the first place with Axar Patel drafted in for Ravindra Jadeja. However, Patel complained of a knee niggle and had to be ruled out. If fit, Patel will certainly make his test debut in the second test match.
Not only does the bowling all-rounder average over 35 with the bat in first-class cricket, he has also picked up 134 wickets from 39 matches and is the closest replacement available for Ravindra Jadeja at the moment.
One thing is for certain that Patel would be more consistent than Nadeem and would keep the runs dry, if not pick up wickets. He also provides a few runs with the bat down the order which will be helpful.
Kuldeep Yadav in for Washington Sundar
It was a surprise that Kuldeep Yadav did not make the Indian playing XI despite an injury to Ravindra Jadeja. The logic from the Indian team management was that they could not have two off spinners and a left arm wrist spinner in the XI with all the three spinners spinning the ball into the right handers.
Washington Sundar contributed in the first test match with an unbeaten 85 off 138 deliveries but it was his primary skill where he lacked. Sundar bowled 26 overs in the first innings of the test match and gave away 98 runs at an economy rate of 3.80 while being able to piece together just two maiden overs.
Every time he came on to bowl, England were able to either milk him easily or hit the ball to the fence which did not help matters for Team India on a benign pitch.
Kuldeep last played a test match against Australia at Sydney in 2019 where he picked up a 5-wicket haul and was touted as India's first-choice spinner in overseas conditions by coach Ravi Shastri. However, despite several injuries and the likes of Axar Patel, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem coming into the squad, Kuldeep is yet to get another opportunity.
With pressure on Team India building after a defeat in the home conditions and Washington Sundar not being able to deliver with the ball, Kuldeep is likely to play his first test match in more than two years.
© Cricket World 2021