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Tom Hartley Set for England’s Three-Spinner Lineup

England has chosen Mark Wood as their only fast bowler and three specialist spinners for the first Test against India, which starts on Thursday in Hyderabad.

That means left-arm spinner Tom Hartley will play his first Test match. He has taken 40 wickets at 36.57 in just 20 first-class games for Lancashire. He will be joined by legspinner Rehan Ahmed. The only time he played in a Test was last winter in Pakistan, where he took 5 for 48 in the second innings.

Since he missed the Ashes last summer with a back stress fracture, Jack Leach, who was Ben Stokes’ go-to spinner while he was in charge, is now the real leader of the attack. The bowler Joe Root had his best performance of 5 for 8 at Ahmedabad on England’s last Test tour of India. He will also play a big part with the ball.

Visa Delay

Our other spinner, Shoaib Bashir, has yet to travel to India due to visa delays. He reportedly returned to the UK from the UAE, where he attended the pre-series training camp, to speed things up. England hopes he can join by the weekend.

Shoaib Bashir

Wood had the sole seam position, ahead of James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, and Gus Atkinson, due to his speed and reverse swing. Wood came into the Ashes for the final three matches and took 14 wickets as England overcame a 2-0 deficit to draw the series 2-2.

Stokes’ Strategy

Stokes told the visiting UK media on Tuesday that he’d be delighted to back “any” of England’s four seamers to lead the line, but during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday, he admitted that Wood’s exceptional pace was enticing. This will be England’s first Test match with one quick bowler since 1962.

“When you go with one seamer, you look at the impact you want out of that seamer,” Stokes. Woody’s fast bowling has a big impact. If we can swing the ball, his reverse-swinging 90s-mph bowling will be tough to play against.

We can employ him for brief, sharp spells. We told him that. Bowl swiftly in small segments. It’s fine to consider long spells. Things may alter and he may have to bowl long stints. That’s how I’d use Woody before bowling.”

Stokes’ Strategy

Three-spin strategy

The three-spin method is ambitious, but not unique in India. Just like last year, Australia chose Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann, and Todd Murphy for the final three Tests of their four-match series. Pat Cummins was the sole fast bowler in the second Test until Cameron Green returned from injury for the third in Indore. He bowled two overs as spinners took 18 of 20 wickets in Australia’s lone win.

Stokes said Hartley’s height and bowling speed may help him duplicate India’s spinners’ home success.

“Tom is very tall,” stated he. “He bowls at a challenging speed out here and gets a lot of natural variation, which in India is sometimes the hardest thing to confront when you have two of the same ball, ball after ball, and one turns square and the other skids on and picks up pace. Just trying to give ourselves the best chance of exploiting conditions we’ve seen from the Indian opposition out here.”

Three-spin strategy

“India is one of those places where you’ve got to think about selection a lot more than anywhere else in the world, because of what you can get from the wicket.”

Stokes, known for his quirky captaincy, may even throw Root the ball.

“Like the pitches, it would be a gut decision, as most of my decisions are. Maybe Rooty gets the new ball, depending on how I feel. If [Yashasvi] Jaiswal opens the batting, Rooty may bowl with that new ball since it spins away from the bat.”

England XI

1 Zak Crawley, 2 Ben Duckett, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Rehan Ahmed, 9 Mark Wood, 10 Tom Hartley, 11 Jack Leach

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pawan

    January 25, 2024 at 7:25 am

    such interesting content…

  2. Rony

    January 25, 2024 at 7:58 am

    Looking forward to seeing how Tom Hartley complements the other spinners in England’s lineup Could be a game changer

  3. Abhi1

    January 25, 2024 at 8:04 am

    looking forward for him playing the game

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