Shoaib Bashir gears up to make his Test debut against India

Shoaib Bashir is set to make his delayed Test debut against India on Friday, stepping in for the off-spinner Jack Leach, who missed the first test in Hyderabad due to a visa delay.

England’s touring captain, Ben Stokes, confirmed the change and expressed his confidence in the 20-year-old, stating that Bashir appeared very excited about the opportunity.

The Somerset spinner will join Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley in England’s spin-heavy attack, with Joe Root providing a potent part-time option.

The forced change was described as a straightforward swap—one spinner out, one spinner in – due to Leach’s left knee injury sustained during the previous match, where England secured a remarkable away win, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

In another alteration to the lineup, seasoned fast bowler James Anderson will replace Mark Wood as England’s sole paceman for the second match in Visakhapatnam. Stokes highlighted the importance of Anderson’s experience, particularly emphasising his skills with the new ball, reverse swing, and off-cutters.

Looking ahead to the match, Stokes acknowledged India’s resilience and their ability to bounce back from setbacks. India is facing challenges with the absence of key players like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, and KL Rahul due to injuries and personal reasons. Wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat, however, expressed confidence in the team’s ability to level the series in Visakhapatnam.

Bharat credited England for their deserved victory in Hyderabad but assured that India was not panicking.

Despite squandering a significant first-inning lead, he stated that the atmosphere within the team remained relaxed.

The team management emphasised the importance of staying focused on the long Test series, urging the players to concentrate on implementing positive strategies and playing good cricket.