England turn to Shoaib Bashir and James Anderson for second Test against India

Off-spinner set for debut with Jack Leach injured while veteran replaces Mark Wood as lone pace-bowler in Visakhapatnam

Shoaib Bashir has been fast-tracked into the England team despite making only six first-class appearances. Getty Images
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Shoaib Bashir will make his England debut in the second Test against India, while record-wicket-taker James Anderson has also been called up for the match in Visakhapatnam.

Off-spinner Bashir arrived late in India following a visa delay before joining the squad in Hyderabad to witness England register one of the all-time great Test victories and go 1-0 up in the five-match series.

The 20-year-old replaces Somerset teammate Jack Leach, who hurt his left knee while fielding in the first Test that saw the tourists secure a sensational 28-run win.

“Bash coming in for Leachy was a simple one: one spinner out, one spinner in,” said captain Ben Stokes ahead of the match which starts on Friday.

“Baz [coach Brendon McCullum] told him. So, when I went up to him, I knew that he knew and he just gave me a big hug. He looked very excited. I’m fully backing him and looking forward to hopefully putting on a grand show.”

Tom Hartley led the way with the ball in Hyderabad – as one of three specialist England spinners alongside Leach and Rehan Ahmed, plus part-timer Joe Root – taking 7-62 on day four as England bounced back from a first-innings deficit of 190 runs.

Leach’s absence means England’s three main spinners have three caps between them – two for Rehan Ahmed, one for Tom Hartley.

While the pitch is not expected to turn as much in Visakhapatnam, Stokes believes continuing with a spin-heavy attack remains the way forward.

“The pitch looks drier than it did yesterday,” he said. “It's about backing your decisions when you pick a team. We just feel the way we were able to operate with our spinners was a massive boost for us.”

England seal first Test win

England's spin-heavy attack is augmented by the veteran Anderson – who wins his 184th cap and has 690 Test wickets to his name – replacing Mark Wood as the lone pace bowler.

At 41 years and 187 days on Friday's opening day, he will become the oldest seamer ever to bowl in a Test in India and this will be the 22nd consecutive year in which Anderson has played in a red-ball international.

“It’s great that Jimmy is doing good things for the old boys out there,” said Stokes with a smile.

“It’s huge credit to him and lots of people should look up to Jimmy considering he is where he is at 41. Bringing in Jimmy’s experience, and the class that he has, is great for us and I think it also goes under the radar how good his record in India is.

“Considering what Jimmy is known for – ‘the swing king’ and all that – it just proves how good a bowler he is. Taking nothing away from Woody, we just feel like there’s a bit more I can turn to him for… his 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 the series opener. They were already missing batting talisman Virat Kohli, who is unavailable for the first two Tests for personal reasons, pace bowler Mohammed Shami and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

The team have been working on their sweeps and reverse sweeps after watching and learning from England’s successful tactics – particularly Ollie Pope’s brilliant 196 in the second innings that turned the match on its head.

Wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat is confident that India – who have not lost the first two Tests in a home series since 2000 – can quickly level the series.

“They really played very well, credit to them, Pope really played good shots.” he said on Thursday. “But we have bounced back previously as well so yeah, looking forward to this next challenge.

“In our team meetings we spoke about the things we could have done better. We certainly have a few plans and we’re definitely looking at the way they went about the first game. Playing some reverse [sweeps], that’s something we’ve worked on. We have our plans set now.”

Updated: February 01, 2024, 11:29 AM