India not too important for England as they rest key players
New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) England are not putting their best team up for the four-Test India series that begins next month despite knowing that India will provide a far more stiffer challenge than Sri Lanka, where they sent their best squad and won the two-Test series 2-0.
There has been criticism from former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, who have called upon his country’s board to field the best squad for the upcoming series and take it seriously as Virat Kohli’s India will be a tough neu to crack.
England’s 0-4 loss on their previous tour to India in 2016-17 and India’s impregnability at home, however, may have prompted the visitors not to field and risk their best eleven in all four Tests. Either they think their reserve is good enough for India or that they have already given up on winning here.
Jonny Bairstow, who has played in the Indian Premier League for the past two seasons with great success and batted at No.3 in Sri Lanka, was sent home and rested for the first two Tests to be played in Chennai from February 5. England also sent home pace bowler Mark Wood, who picked three wickets in the first innings of second Test against Sri Lanka, for the first two Tests to be played in India.
Sam Curran, who troubled India in the home series in 2018, is also being rested for the Chennai Tests.
Importantly, Jos Buttler, who helped England chase a tricky fourth innings target in the second Test against Sri Lanka, will return home after the first Test against India.
England head coach Chris Silverwood, however, said that the system in place is okay and they don’t intend to change it.
“We’ve got to look after our people. We’re spending a lot of time in hotels and bio-secure bubbles and it is not easy. It is good we’re being proactive. I’m perfectly happy with the system at the moment,” he told the media on Tuesday.
“We’ve decided that we need to look after our players and I do believe we’ve been proactive. I would ask them to understand why we do what we do. It is in the best interest of each player and to get the most out of them, long-term,” he said.
England, however, do accept that India would be a very tough challenge, especially when they are playing at their home.
“We are going there with our eyes open. We know it is going to be a very tough challenge. We know India are an excellent team, especially in their home conditions. But we are in good place, we are constantly growing. I think we can win. It is a great challenge,” said Silverwood.
To not have Buttler and Bairstow, their two very experienced players who have played in India, makes the English side a bit weak.
England have a hectic 2021 schedule, during which they are scheduled to play 17 Tests, T20 World Cup, and all this will be in the bio-bubble.
They have already played two Tests in Sri Lanka, and after the four-Test series, they will play two Tests against New Zealand. After that they will play five Tests against India at home which will be followed by the Ashes in Australia.
“Good for the team as they will continue learning out there. Pitch themselves against the best teams of the world. India is a great place to be,” said Silverwood.