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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Will India Play 3 Spinners Against England?

Will India Play 3 Spinners Against England?

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 27, 2023 10:46 IST
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IMAGE: India will look to continue their winning run against a struggling England on Sunday. Photograph: BCCI/X
 

England's inexplicable showing so far has sucked out interest out of Sunday's clash in Lucknow.

While India sit pretty atop with five straight wins, England are one place from the bottom with just one win from five matches.

England have gone past 300 just once in five games played. Consider the scores from their last three games: 215 all out against Afghanistan, 170 all out against South Africa and 156 all out against Sri Lanka.

Injuries have not helped either, with their top wicket-taker Reece Topley (8 wickets) ruled out of the World Cup with injury after playing just three games. Star all-rounder Ben Stokes missed the first three games and hasn't done much in the two games he has played so far.

Questions are being raised over Jos Buttler's captaincy and also his place in the team. The wicketkeeper-batter has scored just 95 runs from five matches with a best of 43.

Out of 21 centuries scored in the World Cup 2023, England have managed just one, through Dawid Malan (140 vs Bangladesh). Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone have struggled to make an impact with the bat.

On the bowling front too, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Mark Wood and David Willey have failed to live up to expectations, with veteran leggie Adil Rashid the only one to hold his head high, with six wickets from five matches at an economy rate of 5.54.

Imagine this shambles of a team taking on a beast of a team in India, who have trampled every opponent that have come their way. If India play even half of what they are doing, they will easily get past struggling England, whose players seem at their lowest ebb.

But there is no more dangerous beast than a wounded tiger and England, who have taken one hell of a beating in their last three games, have enough firepower to bounce back.

India can ill afford to take England lightly as it doesn't take much for the tide to change in white ball cricket. The visitors possess a host of dangerous players in Stokes, Bairstow, Root, Brook, Livingstone and Wood.

However, it will take some stopping to get past India, who are currently performing like a well-oiled machine with both their batting and bowling working to perfection.

Rohit Sharma has never looked so lethal with the bat as he has in this World Cup. The India captain looks like a man on a mission, blasting his way to 311 runs in five matches at a strike rate of 133, while Shubman Gill is slowly getting back on track after recovering from dengue.

Virat Kohli is also back to his best form, with 354 runs in five matches including a century and three fifties while K L Rahul is playing the role of the middle order finisher to perfection to help the team tide over Shreyas Iyer's poor form.

Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the match which should give Suryakumar Yadav another chance to resurrect his 50 overs career, after he was run out for two against New Zealand.

India face some difficult choices when it comes to their bowling attack.

Mohammed Shami, playing his first match of World Cup 2023, made a sensational comeback with a five wicket haul against New Zealand. He came in for Shardul Thakur as India had to rejig their playing XI following the injury to Pandya, as they were forced to go in with five specialist bowlers in the absence of an all-rounder.

The red clay pitch at the Ekana stadium in Lucknow could aid the spinners which could see Ravichandran Ashwin come back into the team in place of a pacer.

Mohammed Siraj could get a break with India likely to pile misery on the struggling England batting line-up by playing all three World Cup spinners.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, K L Rahul (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav.

Who do you think should be part of India's playing for the World Cup match against England?

Please select your team from the list below and do post your playing XI in the message board below:

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com

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