England v India Tests: Siraj, Hameed and other impact players flying under the radar

Several players will be waiting for an opportunity to make their mark during the five-match series

It's the start of the new World Test Championship cycle. For England and India, the upcoming five-Test series will show exactly where they stand after recent reversals.

Joe Root's England are not where they want to be in Test cricket. Under Root, England have lost four of their past five Tests and also saw New Zealand secure a Test series win in June - their first in the country since 1999.

India are not exactly flying either. They were easily defeated by the Black Caps in the World Test Championship final in June. And as much as captain Virat Kohli might want to blame the one-off nature of the title match for his team's shortcomings, the fact remains English conditions have been a challenge.

England enter the five-match series, which begins in Nottingham on Wednesday, without star all-rounder Ben Stokes who has taken an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental health. India have had a number of injury concerns, with Shubman Gill and Washington Sundar injured, and batsman Mayank Agarwal sidelined.

Even so, there is no dearth if quality on either side. Experienced players such as Kohli and James Anderson will be relied on to carry a bulk of the load throughout the Pataudi Trophy. However, there are other players who are not exactly superstars yet but can make a big impact if they get an opportunity. And in an ongoing pandemic, an opening is never too far away.

We have picked six such players in the gallery above - three from each team.

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 3:24 AM