With all the debates surrounding India’s playing XI for the first Test of the five-match series that starts on Wednesday at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England have announced their team for the opener, almost 24 hours in advance.
Adil Rashid, the most controversial selection in the 13-man squad for the first Test, has been named in the XI with the returning Moeen Ali missing out. The other player to sit out is Essex’s fast bowler James Porter, who received his maiden call-up to the England squad with Chris Woakes still not fully fit to play five-day cricket.
Here’s England’s official playing XI for the first Test:
Joe Root (c)
Jonny Bairstow (w)
The selection of one spinner in the XI suggests that the England think-tank looks at the Edgbaston pitch as a conventional one, with reports suggesting there has been heavy watering of the outfield, to help the pitch retain moisture. There has also been some heavy rain in the past couple of days in Birmingham, leading to suggestions that the pitch will aid fast bowlers, as is the norm.
“With the amount of right handers in India’s team, Rashid gives us a really attacking spinning option and he’s in confident form,” Root said. “He’s gone about his business just as he does in the one-day side, he doesn’t seem affected at all. I’ve known Adil for a long time. I think he’s grown as a player massively in the last couple of years, he has a better understanding of what he wants to do.”
The England captain has also announced Jos Buttler as England’s vice-captain for the series. Buttler, 27, is already vice-captain for England’s ODI side, ranked No. 1 in the latest ICC world rankings. He was recalled to the Test squad at the start of the summer for the series against Pakistan and scored two half-centuries in three innings.
(More to follow)
Meanwhile, you can still select your India XI for the first below. Let us know your thoughts.