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Focus on Rahane, Bumrah as India eye history at Old Trafford

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
Last updated on: September 09, 2021 12:35 IST
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Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli will be aiming to become the first Indian captain to win an away Test series both in Australia and England. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jasprit Bumrah will have to squeeze every ounce of energy from his already overworked body, while Ajinkya Rahane will hope to get one final chance to save his international career when India take on England in the fifth and final Test, chasing a historic series win, in Manchester on Friday.

 

The weather prediction would bring smiles in the Indian camp as there is forecast of rain during the first two days which increases the chance of Virat Kohli becoming the first Indian captain to win an away Test series both in Australia (2018-19) and England (2021).

India lead the five-match series 2-1 after their crushing 157-run victory in the fourth Test at The Oval on Monday;

However, just like the last four Tests, India's playing XI is likely to generate a lot of curiosity.

At the heart of the conversation will certainly be Bumrah's workload after having bowled 151 overs already in the past one month, including 22 intense overs on the fourth and fifth day of the fourth Test.

Just like Bumrah, another complicated situation surrounds vice-captain Rahane's inclusion after his twin failures on a good batting deck at The Oval.

Six failures in seven innings with confidence shot to pieces is not the Rahane everyone is familiar with.

Yet, considering this is the last Test of the series, Kohli might think of giving his deputy one last chance failing which his India career might be in line now that he is 33 years old.

If not, then Suryakumar Yadav's flamboyance or Hanuma Vihari's doggedness could be used to unsettle the English attack which might be sans James Anderson, who has taken tremendous workload during this summer.

And workload is something that concerns India and especially Bumrah.

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah, right, with KL Rahul during a training session. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The manner in which Bumrah snuffed out Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow with lethal reverse swinging deliveries, the mere thought of not facing him would provide comfort to the brittle English batting line-up which hasn't lived up to expectations save skipper Joe Root.

With Mohammed Shami being declared fit, he is set to walk into the playing XI but skipper Kohli's call in absence of head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharath Arun, both suffering from COVID-19, will be crucial.

In perfect bowling conditions that the Old Trafford provides at times, not playing Bumrah will be a travesty but a busy schedule to follow, including the IPL and the T20 World Cup, Kohli might ponder over the worst of possibilities, including injuries.

Umesh Yadav (6 wickets) and all-rounder Shardul Thakur (3 wickets 117 runs), after their respective impressive performances in the last game, aren't going to be benched and Bumrah is someone who will be required big time in the biggest game of the series.

In case, the team management looks at the bigger picture and decides giving Bumrah an option to cool his heels, then Mohammed Siraj, despite an underwhelming show in the last Test, could retain his place.

The non-inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin has been non-negotiable for captain Kohli, whose vote of confidence in Ravindra Jadeja's all-round skills has been partially vindicated if not fully.

But will Shardul's show with the bat induce Kohli to think differently and use the better spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin and not Jadeja?

Perhaps Ashwin may get a look-in when people least expect him to as Kohli is known to do the unexpected.

For England, Root is their first and only hope and he would like to shrug off the disappointment in The Oval Test and ensure that he crosses the 600-run mark for the series.

Just like Rohit Sharma, who would like to overcome his knee injury and breach the 500-run mark for the five Tests, playing a crucial role in India's superior showing in the series.

Root will get support from deputy Jos Buttler, who will be back in the playing XI and is set to replace Jonny Bairstow as the wicketkeeper.

Mark Wood is likely to share the new ball with Chris Woakes as both Anderson and Craig Overton are likely to miss the Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara is also set to be included after recovering from his injury and he cleared all doubts by taking part in India's net session on Wednesday.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (w/k), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur.

England: Joe Root (captain), Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Robinson, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, James Anderson, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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