Euro 2020 Special

Joe Root to Stokes: Which English Players Can Shine in India?

Joe Root was full of class in England’s last series against Sri Lanka away from home. The way the England captain played spin and his approach to batting was refreshing to witness in conditions which were alien to the English batsmen. 

Next up for England is a tough tour of India which will test the mettle of this squad. Despite starting the series as the underdogs, England are coming into this campaign after winning against Sri Lanka, where they faced a stern test against some quality spin. This Indian team in their home conditions is a different ball game altogether but certain English players can be inspirational for the Three Lions if they are to be competitive in this four-match Test series. 


In the past year or so, Joe Root seems to have slipped out of the ‘Fabulous Four’ in world cricket but the England captain with his classy double hundred at Galle seems to be batting at his very peak. Joe Root is a brilliant player of spin and that became apparent when he made his debut in India on a challenging Nagpur track. If England are to remain competitive in this series then they need their captain to outscore his opposite number. He’ll be playing his 100th Test at Chennai and out of those 99, six have come on Indian soil. He averages 53.09 in India and has a hundred to his name. 


Jofra Archer in India is a familiar sight but him with the red ball will be a completely different animal for the Indians. The extra bounce he can generate out of nowhere would be something to look forward to with the new ball. With the older ball, Jofra can be lethal if the ball starts reversing with his extra pace. He hasn’t played in these placid conditions before and this will be the real test of his abilities to take the pitch out of context. 


Surprisingly for most, Stuart Broad was amongst the wickets in the first match against Sri Lanka. He has been the best bowler in Test cricket in the last two years but his record in Indian conditions isn’t promising. In the six matches he has played in the country, he has only managed to pick 10 wickets at an underwhelming average of 53.90. England would be looking to rotate him with James Anderson in this Test series and it looks like Anderson will get the first go at Chennai as he has earned some success in the past in these conditions. Nevertheless, Broad would still be the key and his experience could come handy in the last few Tests.


Arguably the most complete all-rounder in world cricket currently, England need to see the best of Ben Stokes in this series. He has a hundred already in Indian conditions but he would need to do much more to make this series exciting. He is the X-factor player for England and someone India needs to be wary of. 


Whenever a tour of India comes up, the spotlight straight away goes to the opposition spinners. Dom Bess and Jack Leach seem destined to be the first two spinners in the initial part of the series but the team also has an option to play Moeen Ali as the all-rounder. Dom Bess had a decent outing in Sri Lanka and picked up a five-wicket haul as well in the first Test. This is the young spinner’s first tour of India and can be a huge learning curve for him. He will have to stay patient and find the right pace to bowl at in conditions which will favour him. This current Indian team is dangerous to play against for any young spinner but Bess would for sure relish the contest against the best players of spin in the world. 

Read: Cricket Comes Home: India vs England First Test Preview




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