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Tom Hartley set to debut as England announce XI for first Test vs India

Last updated on 24 Jan 2024 | 08:21 AM
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Tom Hartley set to debut as England announce XI for first Test vs India

The Ben Stokes-led side have gone in with just one pacer and three specialist spinners in Hyderabad

England have named their XI for the first Test against India in Hyderabad, starting Thursday (January 25). Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley will make his debut and will feature alongside Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed as the other two spin options. Joe Root, who picked up a fifer during the previous tour, could potentially chip in as the fourth spinner if needed.

Hartley made his ODI debut for England against Ireland in September last year, but is yet to pick up a wicket for his country. He has 40 first-class wickets from 20 matches and with the bat, he has struck 522 runs at 29.

"It's very exciting for Tom. I'm looking forward to seeing him out there and captaining him. He's been very impressive in the build-up in Abu Dhabi. He bowls at a very difficult pace to be able to handle out here and he's someone who gets a lot of natural variation. In India, that is sometimes the hardest thing to face," Ben Stokes said in the press conference in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

"It would be a complete and utter 'gut' thing, as most of my decisions like that are," said Stokes. "You might even see Rooty taking the new ball, depending on what I feel. If (left-hander) Yashasvi Jaiswal opens the batting, you might see Rooty opening the bowling because it's spinning away from the bat."

Notably, England have picked just one pacer in the XI in Mark Wood, who has pipped the experienced James Anderson, Ollie Robinson and the uncapped Gus Atkinson. With Harry Brook out of the series due to personal reasons, Ben Foakes returns to the fold and will also don the gloves with Jonny Bairstow playing as a specialist batter.

Ollie Pope, Foakes, Rehan and Leach come into the side after not being involved in England's previous Test that came against Australia at The Oval last summer. Among the squad, uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was unavailable for selection as he has flown home to sort out his visa issues.

England XI for first Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, Jack Leach

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