India is likely to play only one spinner in the series opener.
The first Test between England and India is set to commence on August 4 and the talk around the team combination of both the teams has begun. The visitors have been grappled with an injury to their opener Mayank Agarwal who suffered a concussion on Monday after being hit on the head in the nets. This has opened up a position at the top of the order and KL Rahul is the likeliest candidate to replace him.
Interestingly, the Karnataka batsman was being looked at as a backup option in the middle-order for this series. He also scored a century in the three-day warm-up while batting at five. The other opener in the squad Abhimanyu Easwaran is not being considered at the moment while Prithvi Shaw is yet to link up the squad having left Sri Lanka only recently along with Suryakumar Yadav.
Another player Hanuma Vihari has opened only once before but KL Rahul is likely to get the nod as the opener with Rohit Sharma according to Cricbuzz.
Mohammed Siraj to trump the second spinner?
Meanwhile, it has also been learnt that team India might shelve the two spinner strategy which didn’t work in the World Test Championship Final. The pitch on offer for the Trent Bridge Test has also played a role in it. Two days before the game, the surface wore a greenish look and not much grass is expected to be cut off before the first match.
This may pave the way for Mohammed Siraj to play his first Test in England after impressing on the Australia tour in the 2019-20 season which India won. Among the two spinners, Ravi Ashwin is likely to play given his experience and the fact that he was impressed in the County Championship game played for Surrey where he scalped a seven-wicket haul.
On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja is a much better batsman but his spin might not be that useful in these conditions. Also, Ashwin’s current form with the ball even away from home may keep the southpaw out of the opening Test match.