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England squad for India Tests: Atkinson among 3 uncapped players

PoliticsEngland squad for India Tests: Atkinson among 3 uncapped players

England squad for India Tests: Ben Stokes (c), Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root Mark Wood

The England men’s selection panel announced a 16-member squad for England’s five-Test tour of India, with three uncapped players part of the setup. Pacer Gus Atkinson along with spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir have been included in England’s Test squad.

England have plenty of variety in their spin department with the presence of four spinners. Jack Leach’s left-arm orthodox has a backup in the form of Hartley, Rehan Ahmed (returning to the team) offers the wrist spin option while Bashir bowls right arm offspin.

Hartley, who has played two ODIs for England, has picked up 40 first-class wickets in 20 games for Lancashire while the 20-year old Bashir, who made his first class debut for Somerset in the 2023 season, bagged 10 wickets in six matches. Both Hartley and Bashir were part of the England Lions squad that trained in the UAE last month.

England have only four pace options in the form of veteran James Anderson, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson and Atkinson. Chris Woakes, who featured in the Ashes, has been left out for the India tour. It remains to be seen if Ben Stokes, the captain of the england squad for India test side, is able to bowl or plays only as a batter, having undergone a surgery in his left knee last month.

England have two wicket-keeping options in Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes, who also returns to the team having been left out for the Ashes. Leach and Ollie Pope are also among those back in the side having picked up injuries during the English summer.

England’s first Test against India begins on Jan 25 in Hyderabad. They travel to Visakhapatnam next for the second Test that starts on Feb 2 while the third Test will be played in Rajkot from February 15. Ranchi hosts the fourth Test from Feb 23 and the fifth and final Test will be played in Dharamsala from Mar 7.

England squad place attributes over averages to fill spinners’ void for India tour

That logic has informed England’s thinking throughout Key’s tenure as managing director, which has seen him double up as a selector. Zak Crawley’s 480-run Ashes series vindicated their long-standing belief that he was better suited to facing genuine pace than the medium-fast seamers that dominate in the Championship, while Josh Tongue (currently injured) was picked this summer despite, not because of, his county form.

Key’s comments hinted at another obvious similarity between Hartley and Bashir: they are 24 and 20 years old respectively, and are unlikely to have any qualms with starting the tour as back-up spinners. Neither do they have any commitments in franchise leagues which clash with the Test series.

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