More questions than answers as England prepares for First Test against India
The T20s and ODIs between England and India have served as the perfect appetizer for the main course of Test cricket that is to come. However, for the home team, the form that has been shown by some players in the shorter form of the game has created as many questions as it has answers. With just a week to go till the first test gets underway at Edgbaston, let’s take a look at the test form of the two teams and at some of the questions that will be keeping Joe Root and the selectors talking long into the night.
England favourites for the win
In winning the ODI series, England held on to their number one spot in the rankings, but Jonny Bairstow has warned that it is unfair to compare the white ball form with that of England’s test prospects. Nevertheless, a look at the odds on offer from any of the sites listed in the top bookmaker rankings shows that the home team are even money favourites to take victory in the first test in what will be a five-match series.
Once the series is up and running, it will be easier for England to fine tune the side. But first, they need to agree on a starting XI, and this is where they have some tough decisions to make.
Who will open?
Keaton Jennings is the man who is back in possession of the poisoned chalice as Alastair’s Cook’s opening partner at the moment. But will he retain the spot? A top score of 29 when he was recalled against Pakistan earlier in the summer was less than convincing, but he looked more assured that previous incumbent Mark Stoneman.
Will Root bat at three?
Joe Root might not be in any hurry to repeat his mic drop antics, but his sparkling form in the one dayers is one of the best pieces of news for the team as they go into the tests. But the question remains as to where Root should bat. As the biggest talent, the captain and the man in form, number three seems a natural choice. But will he be able to convert that one day form into test match form when it matters?
A recall for Rashid?
Adil Rashid also showed fantastic form over recent weeks, and the look on Virat Kohli’s face when he dismissed him in the third ODI said it all. England needs a spinner who can turn the ball away from the right handers, and Rashid has said he would consider rethinking his decision earlier this year to retire from red ball cricket. From a logical perspective, he is the obvious choice, but his selection would cause controversy among the media pundits.
What to do with Buttler
Jos Buttler is a nice problem to have. He is one of the biggest natural talents in the game, and can dominate like nobody else. He is also the only player other than Root who looked assured against the wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav. The question is where to fit him into the batting order – there has even been talk of him floating and being promoted up the order when Yadav comes on.
Will Anderson and Broad be fit?
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will go down in history as one of the most successful England bowling partnerships ever. But just how much longer can it last? Chris Woakes is the natural choice as a third seamer, but with Mark Wood’s fragility, it is hard to know where else to look. Jake Ball has yet to prove himself, so this could be the ideal time to give a youngster like Essex’s Jamie Porter an opportunity.
©Cricket World 2018