India are set to embark on a challenging tour of England spanning June to September. Virat Kohli and company will take on New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) and face England in a high-pressure five-Test series during their trip.
The clash against the Blackcaps will be held in Southampton from June 18-22. India reached the WTC final after finishing on top of the nine-team league points table, with series victories over West Indies and Australia away and at home against South Africa, Bangladesh and England.
India’s only blip through the campaign came in New Zealand where they lost the Test series 2-0, which will boost the Kiwis’ confidence ahead of the ultimate encounter at Rose Bowl. The Black Caps have reached the WTC final positioned second in the table after winning 7 and losing only 4 of their 11 matches through the campaign.
With the pandemic posing logistical and quarantine hurdles, India’s main Test players will stay in England through July and play intra-squad matches ahead of the five-Test series versus the hosts, beginning August 4 at Trent Bridge. Lord’s (August 12-16), Headingley (August 25-29), The Oval (September 2-6) and Manchester (September 10-14) will host the next four Test matches.
Through their tour, India will have a chance to make amends in England after facing drubbings on successive trips since their memorable series win in 2007 under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid.
India have lost 11 of their previous 14 Tests played in English conditions and will have to show greater technical acumen across departments to win crucial moments and potentially seal a few games in their favour.
India’s squad for WTC final and England Tests
Kohli’s India will feel bolstered by the return of their premier all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari after recovering from their respective injuries.
The comeback of Jadeja, especially, is a big plus for India as he has been outstanding with the bat and ball in the last 2-3 years and will allow the team to field five proper bowlers without having to compromise on the batting front.
Given the length of the assignment, the selectors have picked an extended 20-man touring party and have also announced four standbys.
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur make up the main touring pace attack. Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar Patel and also young Washington Sundar feature in the spin department.
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal and also KL Rahul, whose selection is subject to fitness clearance, are the four first-choice opening batters in a line-up where Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane hold the middle-order responsibility.
Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha (also subject to fitness clearance) are the only two wicketkeepers part of the squad, for which Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla have been named standbys.
Live Streaming and Where To Watch
Star Sports will televise India’s WTC final against New Zealand, with live streaming available on Hotstar. Sony is the official Indian broadcaster for the England Tests and will provide live streaming on its app Sony Liv.