If you're looking for a possible England XI vs India for the 1st Test, you're in the right place. The highly anticipated England vs India Test series is set to get underway from January 25th, with the first Test taking place at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. England are on the tour of India for five Tests, as a part of the ICC World Test Championship.
Touring India for Tests is by far the toughest challenge in the sport as the Indian cricket team has lost only three Tests at home since 2013. Facing Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on turning pitches has been difficult for foreign batters. It has become a nightmare with Axar Patel also in the mix now.
The last time India lost a series at home was in 2012 when Alistair Cook’s England won by 2-1. England toured India for four Tests in early 2021, where they won the first game comprehensively but then lost the next three Tests.
Led by Ben Stokes and developed a brand of cricket known as ‘Bazball’, England will be hoping for better results when they take on the home side. But they have suffered a big blow ahead of the series with Harry Brook withdrawing from the tour for personal reasons. Brook has been the most in-form batter for England in Test cricket since his debut.
England full squad for England vs India Tests
Ben Stokes (captain), Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Dan Lawrence
England XI vs India for the 1st Test
Ben Duckett has flourished under the regime of Stokes and Brendon McCullum. The left hand batter has been at his best in this attacking style set-up. Duckett averaged under 16 in his first stint with England in 2016, which lasted for four Tests. Under Stokes, he has played 11 Tests and has amassed 1011 runs at an average of 53.21 while striking at an excellent 89. Duckett has smashed two centuries and six half centuries in this period.
Zak Crawley has been a topic of massive debate around his place in the England Test side. Possessing all the talent to be a good international player, Crawley showed glimpses of it but was too inconsistent. England still continued to back him. Crawley had a home season in 2023, where he made 548 runs from six games at an average of 54.80 and strike rate of 93. Crawley hit a sensational 189 in the Ashes at Manchester.
Ollie Pope missed the last three Tests of the Ashes due to an injury. He has recovered and should take the number three spot in the England XI vs India for the first Test. Like a few others, Pope has done a better job under Stokes’ captaincy. He has scored 1104 runs in the Bazball era at an average of 42.46 and strike rate of 77.
Joe Root is the most valuable batter in the England XI vs India, heading into this series. Known for being one of the best players of spin, Root has delivered in India previously. He scored 368 runs at 46 average on the last tour of India, when the pitches were extremely hard for batting. Root has also had a better record under Stokes, with 1527 runs at an average of 58.73 and strike rate of 76. Root has smashed five hundreds and seven fifties in this period.
Ben Stokes (c)
The inspirational captain has had to deal with a knee problem for a long time and he's likely to play in this series as a specialist batter only. Stokes is a key player in this side but he needs to do more with the bat. Stokes has scored over 1000 runs in this period at 39 average and 69 strike rate. His past record in India also hasn't been great.
With Harry Brook gone home, Jonny Bairstow is likely to be included in the England XI vs India as a specialist batter. The explosive batter has been an integral part of the Bazball era, scoring 1003 runs at an average of 59 while striking at 89. Bairstow has hit four centuries and four half centuries in this period.
Ben Foakes (wk)
Ben Foakes is set to be the designated wicket-keeper in the England XI vs India. Foakes is by far the best keeper in England and it will be crucial while keeping to spinners in India. He has also done well with the bat for England, averaging 32 with two hundreds and four hundreds.
Most of the England line-up is pretty settled except this one spot – the second specialist spinner. England have three options in leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, off-spinner Shoaib Bashir and left-arm orthodox spinner Tom Hartley, all of whom are very raw. With Joe Root likely to bowl a lot of overs, Hartley could get a nod.
Ollie Robinson should partner James Anderson in the pace department for the first Test, with England likely to rotate the pacers in five Tests. Robinson doesn't have the pace but has the ability to move the ball off the pitch and in the air.
Jack Leach has been England's frontline spinner for a while. He was ruled out of the Ashes and England missed him dearly. Leach has improved significantly since the last time he toured India and gained trust of the England management. On pitches that are likely to turn from day one, Leach will be a key figure in the England XI vs India.
England's greatest ever bowler commands a place in the playing XI whenever he is fit to play. James Anderson has been excellent away from home in the last decade. England will hope he delivers with the new ball and brings reverse swing in play with the old ball.