Ben Stokes Announced England’s Playing XI For First Test Against India , 24-year-Old Left-Arm Spinner Tom Hartley Will Debut.

Ben Stokes Announced Playing XI , Tom Hartley Will Debut For England :

In a strategic move aimed at exploiting India’s historical vulnerability against left-arm spin, England has handed a Test debut to 24-year-old left-arm spinner Tom Hartley for the series opener at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Hartley joins the formidable spin duo of Jack Leach and legspinner Rehan Ahmed in a three-pronged spin attack, leaving room for only one fast bowler, Mark Wood, in the playing XI.

ben stokes , india vs england test series
ben stokes , india vs england test series , image – getty image.

Hartley, hailing from Lancashire, brings with him a promising record of 40 wickets from 20 first-class appearances, boasting a respectable average of 36.57. India’s susceptibility to left-arm spin in home Tests, particularly against a right-heavy top-order, influenced England’s strategic decision. Adding to the spin arsenal, England can also turn to the off-spin of Joe Root if the need arises. Root, England’s talismanic batter, showcased his bowling prowess with a five-wicket haul during the team’s last tour of India in 2021.

England’s Playing XI for Hyderabad

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

The decision to field three spinners means that veteran James Anderson misses out on a spot in the XI. While not an entirely novel strategy in this part of the world, it’s a departure from the traditional English lineup. Australia adopted a similar approach last year with Todd Murphy and Scott Kuhnemann alongside Nathan Lyon, but crucially, they had seam-bowling all-rounders, Cameron Green and Ben Stokes, as backup.

Spinner Shoaib Bashir, part of the squad, is yet to join the team in India due to visa processing delays. His absence prompted a quick return to the UK from Abu Dhabi, where the squad had been training.

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As confirmed by captain Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes will take up the wicketkeeping duties, while Jonny Bairstow will feature as a specialist batter at No.5 in the lineup. With this spin-heavy strategy, England is set to test India’s resilience in familiar conditions and set the tone for an intriguing series.

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