Team India may not have had much success at the England Friendlies in the last decade, but they would be relieved to start their Five-Test campaign in a place where they have done well over the past 14-15 years.
The first test between England and India has begun at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, a venue attended by visitors on two of the last four occasions.
India won the Trent Bridge Test in 2007 for a historic streak victory and they did the same in 2018, where they came back brilliantly after falling 0-2 in the streak.
While most of the staff involved in the 2018 win are present in the ongoing Test in Nottingham, the biggest contributor to that win, Hardik Pandya, is absent.
Hardik Pandya won 5/28 in England’s first innings of the game to help his team take a big lead before crashing a half-century cyclone in the second innings.
Pandya’s presence is something India will badly miss, says former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Pandya has not played a first class match since the 2018 Southampton Test thanks to his difficult back and is not even a regular bowler in the shorter formats.
“I believe that Hardik Pandya’s absence could be fatal for India. He had bowled well in Nottingham and this time the series starts in Nottingham itself. We all know that conditions in Nottingham always favor swing bowlers. England always enjoys the prospect of playing at Trent Bridge as their bowlers are performing well, ”Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel.
With Nottingham being a venue that traditionally supports true swing bowlers, Harbhajan suspected that the addition of Hardik Pandya could have made the playing XI stronger.
“I think the eleven would have been stronger if Hardik Pandya had been there, not only because of his punching power, but also with the 10-15 overs that he bowled in one day under peppy conditions, he can take on wickets. And when he’s in full swing, like last time in Nottingham, he’s picked up five wickets, ”added Harbhajan.
Meanwhile, India has left its leading spinner R. Ashwin to accommodate the swing bowling all-rounder for the first test in Shardul Thakur.
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