SHOAIB BASHIR will make his delayed test debut against India on Friday (2), while veteran James Anderson will replace Mark Wood as England’s lone fast bowler in the second match of the series in Visakhapatnam, touring captain Ben Stokes said.
Off-spinner Bashir missed the opening test in Hyderabad – where England registered one of their greatest away wins- following a visa delay.
The 20-year-old will replace Somerset team mate Jack Leach, who hurt his left knee while fielding in Hyderabad, where England grabbed a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
“The forced change, Bash coming in for Leachy, was a simple one: one spinner out, one spinner in,” Stokes told reporters. “He (Bashir) looked very excited.”
Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley retained their places in England’s spin-heavy attack with Joe Root as a potent part-time option.
Anderson will be playing his 184th test and Stokes said the 41-year-old’s experience would come in handy as England bid to end India’s record of not losing a test series at home since 2012.
“Bringing Jimmy in, we just feel like there’s a bit more I can turn to him for,” Stokes said.
“Not only his new ball skills – reverse skills, his off-cutter skills and stuff like that.”
India are without all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batter KL Rahul, both of whom suffered injuries in Hyderabad.
They were already without batting mainstay Virat Kohli, who is unavailable for the first two tests for personal reasons.
Wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat, however, was confident India could level the series in Visakhapatnam.
“Credit where it’s due, they deserved to win (in Hyderabad),” the stumper told reporters on Thursday.
“But we have bounced back previously as well so yeah, looking forward to this next challenge.”
India squandered a first-innings lead of 190 in Hyderabad letting England off the hook, but Bharat said they were not panicking yet.
“After the game, the atmosphere was absolutely relaxed. They (team management) asked us not to panic.
“The instruction is very clear, that it’s a long Test series and we … have to focus on good things.
“Things that we want to try and implement. We just want to play good cricket. That’s the message from the captain and the coach,” Bharat added.