India vs Eng 2021: 4 pacer strategy in focus as we look at the perfect playing 11 for the 4th Test.
1-1 is what the current series scoreline reads as both teams head from Headingly to Kennigton for the 4th Test match. The series is wonderfully poised at the moment with both teams having an equal chance of a series victory.
The Men in Blue and White are coming off a poor match. After a dominant performance in the first two Tests, Team India had to swallow a bitter pill of an Innings defeat. It’s been a drastic turnaround from defeating England by an innings in 2002 to losing to them by an Innings in 2021.
Team India have had a success using the 4-pacer strategy in the first two matches. However, the dry pitch of Leeds didn’t help much as pacers looked ineffective. The Oval won’t be any different, and spin will play a major part throughout the match.
So, will India stick to the same 4-pacer strategy or finally give World’s current best spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin will get a go? Virat Kohli would face this uninvited dilemma ahead of the match tomorrow. What he decides is yet to be seen, but this is the perfect playing 11 that Team India can adopt for the 4th Test vs Eng.
India vs England 2021 – Team India’s Official Test Squad
Batsmen: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul (WK), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Virat Kohli (C) & Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
All-rounders: Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja
Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur & Umesh Yadav
India vs England 2021 – 4th Test Perfect Playing 11:
Openers: Rohit Sharma & KL Rahul
Rohit Sharma has not only looked the best opener for Team India but also their best batsman so far in the series. It’s actually surprising in a positive way that Rohit Sharma, who has mostly struggled on swing-friendly conditions has played with such maturity and confidence in all the matches so far.
Meanwhile, KL might have failed in the third Test match at Leeds, but is still the leading run-scorer for Team India in the series. The performance of both these batsmen have overshadowed the shortfalls of the struggling middle-order for Team India. While KL Rahul has 250 runs at an average of 42, Rohit Sharma has 232 runs at an average of 46.
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C) & Ajinkya Rahane
The under fire Cheteshwar Pujara answered all his critics with a brilliant 91 in the second innings of the third Test match. He batted with intent, and looked to score runs instead of giving more importance to blocking. That was his success mantra, and Team India would need a similar intent from Pujara in the coming two matches.
While Pujara returned to form with a solid 91, Ajinkya Rahane continued to struggle in the series. Rahane has only managed 95 runs from 5 innings so far in the series. While Virat has already confirmed there won’t be any changes in the batting department, Rahane would be under fire once again. We just hope the confidence is still there, and he can bounce back.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, made a fighting 50 in the second innings of the third Test match. But this is not the same Virat that turned up in 2018. The current Virat is very tentative on fourth and fifth stump line, and that is converting his strength into his weakness. Hopefully, Virat gives his 71st good news in the fourth Test – if you know what I mean.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
The solid Rishabh Pant too has looked slightly out of touch in the batting department on this tour. He has scored only 87 runs from 5 innings at an average of 17.4. He is a way better player that what his current numbers show. Hopefully, just like his wicket-keeping, which has been a big positive, Pant makes good inroads in the batting department.
Spin All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin
The biggest dilemma that Virat Kohli would face ahead of the fourth Test would be the availability of Ravindra Jadeja and selection of Ravichandran Ashwin. If you go by the history, Ravichandran Ashwin should play without a second thought at The Oval. But Virat is such an instinctive and adamant captain that Ashwin might once again miss out from the playing 11 in order to play 4 pacers.
If Ravichandran Ashwin is actually played, unfortunately Ishant Sharma might miss out from the playing 11. Ishant has struggled with the ball in the two Tests he played. He could only manage 5 wickets from 3 innings at an average of 34. So, from the 4 pacers, if there’s anyone who won’t play, it will be Ishant Sharma.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja was sent to hospital immediately after the third Test match. Luckily, there’s no major injury concern for Ravindra Jadeja. He seems to be fit to play. But if India don’t risk this, Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin might play at 7 and 8 position respectively. This will also give the batting depth to Team India.
Pacers: Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj & Jasprit Bumrah
If Ishant Sharma misses out to accommodate Ravichandran Ashwin, the other three pacers in the squad shall be Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Jasprit Bumrah. However, there are rounds that both, Bumrah and Shami might be rested on account of rotation policy. If this happens, Ishant should continue along with Siraj, and Umesh Yadav might then get a game.
England vs India 2021: 4th Test Perfect Playing 11 for Team India:
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Siraj.
If Jadeja, Bumrah, and Shami are rested then Team India will play Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur at 7 and 8. Ishant, Siraj, and Umesh should be the three pacers. If Jadeja is available, and Bumrah and Shami are rested then Jadeja, Ashwin / Shardul, Ishant, Siraj, and Umesh should form the bowling line-up.
Meanwhile, England would have continued with the same line-up. But since Buttler is on paternal leave, Jonny Bairstow shall don the wicket-keeping duties, and Ollie Pope might get a game. There’s also news that James Anderson won’t play. If that’s the case, Chris Woakes becomes the like-for-like replacement.
England vs India 2021: 4th Test Predicted Playing 11 for England:
Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Ollie Pope, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Craig Overton & Ollie Robinson.
- Type: 4th Test, India Tour of England 2021
- When: September 2-6, 2021
- Where: The Oval, London
- Time: 3:30 pm IST start
Thanks for reading! What’s your perfect playing 11 for the 2021 India vs Eng 4th Test? Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.