For the first Test against India in Hyderabad, England made the bold call of excluding their most experienced pacer, James Anderson.
The Three Lions announced their playing XI a day before the game, and it had everyone’s eyebrows raising because not only England picked two very inexperienced spinners – leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has played only one Test match, and left-arm spinner Tom Hartley is uncapped – to partner Jack Leach, but they also went with only one pacer, and he wasn’t James Anderson. The visitors gave the nod to lanky speedster Mark Wood over the veteran English seamer.
James Anderson, with his 690 wickets and 183 Test matches experience, is the leading wicket-taker and has the most Test caps among pacers, but the 41-year-old will be on the bench in Hyderabad.
Why England dropped James Anderson from first Test against India?
England captain Ben Stokes feels that Mark Wood could be more effective in Hyderabad with his high pace and his reverse-swinging deliveries at high speeds than medium-pacer James Anderson. Looking at the dry surface, once England decided that they would have to go with three spinners and only one pacer, Mark Wood was the undeniably choice for Stokes.
Ben Stokes said on Tuesday, “If we do choose to go with just the one seamer, you can’t deny what Woody possesses as a package His express pace and he can get the ball reverse swinging as well … the skill that he has is obviously something that you want in your team. We’ve got out-and-out pace with Gus and Woody, then we’ve got the unbelievable skillset that Jimmy and Robbo possess.”
James Anderson played a key role in England winning the 2012 Test series in India, which was the last time a visiting team won a Test series in India. Anderson has 34 wickets in 13 Tests in India and averages 24 against India in Test cricket.
Most Wickets in Test Wins
510 – Shane Warne
438 – Muralitharan
414 – Glenn McGrath
380 – James Anderson*
343 – Ravi Ashwin*
330 – Stuart Broad
— Cricbaba (@thecricbaba) January 24, 2024
England’s playing XI for the first Test vs India:
1. Zak Crawley
2. Ben Duckett
3. Ollie Pope
4. Joe Root
5. Jonny Bairstow
6. Ben Stokes (C)
7. Ben Foakes (wk)
8. Rehan Ahmed
9. Tom Hartley
10. Mark Wood
11. Jack Leach