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Shoaib Bashir will be making his debut for England in their upcoming match against India, while Jimmy Anderson is set to return to the team.
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Shoaib Bashir will be making his debut for England in their upcoming match against India, while Jimmy Anderson is set to return to the team.

England has a mix of familiar and fresh faces in their second Test against India, as Ben Stokes announced his team on Thursday, one day before the toss. Jimmy Anderson and newcomer Shoaib Bashir will join the attack in Visakhapatnam, while Mark Wood and the injured Jack Leach will make way.

After closely examining the surface at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Stokes is confident that the same strategy that led to a 1-0 lead in Hyderabad should be used. However, the two changes made by England captain and head coach Brendon McCullum are not direct replacements: Anderson’s skill replaces Wood’s speed, while Bashir, a right-arm off-spinner, offers a different spin than his Somerset teammate Leach.

20-year-old Bashir is the newest addition of youthful energy, being born 114 days after Anderson, who is 41 years old, made his Test debut in May 2003. Despite arriving late on tour due to a visa issue, which caused him to miss England’s victory on the fourth day of the first Test, Stokes has no concerns about Bashir’s quick promotion. He stated, “I have no worries or issues about him rejoining the group after being away for some time and making his debut. It’s not like he has forgotten how to bowl.”

The recall of Anderson marks his 22nd consecutive year of playing Test cricket for England, allowing him the opportunity to inch closer to 700 wickets in the longest format. He currently trails behind only Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800), with a mere 10 wickets separating him from their impressive records. Despite a quiet Ashes season, Anderson’s determination remains strong.

Stokes stated that having Jimmy’s experience and skill is valuable, and his impressive record in India often goes unnoticed. With 34 wickets at an average of 29 and an economy rate of 2.65 runs per over, it showcases his talent as a bowler beyond his reputation as the “swing king.”

“I am confident that his diverse abilities will prove useful in the conditions of India. It’s not just his performance with the new ball, but also his other skills that will be valuable. Jimmy’s success at age 41 should serve as inspiration for many.”

Despite Anderson’s vast experience of 183 international appearances, the absence of Leach due to a knee injury leaves the frontline spin attack relying on relatively inexperienced players such as Joe Root, who is now taking on the role of an all-rounder. Rehan Ahmed has played in two Tests and Tom Hartley in one. However, Bashir, who stands at 6ft 4in, will become the 99th player to represent England since Anderson first played at Lord’s many years ago. His captain is sure to offer him support.

England's Jimmy Anderson bowls

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Stokes stated that the player has a innate talent for releasing the ball and the amount of force they put into it. This combination creates a natural variation that can be challenging for opponents to face on the field.

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“Some balls may slide, while others may glide. I fully support him and am excited for him to take the field and hopefully put on a great performance.”

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, Jimmy Anderson.

Source: theguardian.com