From fixtures to squads, here’s all you need to know as India host an international cricket series for the first time since March 2020.
India registered a famous win at Brisbane’s Gabba last week in the fourth Test against Australia to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, and they once again return to action in February when England visit India. The hosts will be bolstered by the return of skipper Virat Kohli and a few other regulars.
Kohli had flown back to India after the first Test in December for the birth of his first child, but Ajinkya Rahane and Co scripted a remarkable turnaround after India lost the pink-ball Test in Adelaide, where they faltered to their lowest-ever Test score of 36. Stars were born, and unlikely heroes like Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill, and Mohammed Siraj stepped up for an injury-ravaged visitors to help them seal a 2-1 series win in the Tests.
While Ishant Sharma returns to the hosts’ squad after missing out on the Australia Tests due to a back injury, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who played as a specialist batsman during the limited-overs series against Australia, also finds a place in the squad.
Pandya, who has played 11 Tests since making his long-format debut in 2017, last featured in a Test for India during the team’s tour of England in 2018.
Pandya has, for the most part, avoided bowling since he sustained a back injury in 2019, although he did bowl four overs and pick up a wicket in the second ODI against Australia.
Meanwhile, for the visitors, pacer Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes return to the squad for the first couple of Tests after being rested for the team’s long-format tour to Sri Lanka. Rory Burns, who had to skip the Sri Lanka tour due to the birth of his first child, also comes back to the side.
However, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, and Sam Curran were rested while Ollie Pope will be added to the squad when declared fit. He, however, will travel to India. The trio is currently in Sri Lanka.
"Surrey’s Ollie Pope will travel to India and will be added to the squad when passed fit. Pope is recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in September during the Test series against Pakistan,” the England and Wales Cricket Board had said in a statement while announcing the squad.
The two teams will face off in four Tests (One pink ball match), five T20Is and three T20Is, with the series commencing with the first Test in Chennai on 5 February.
The pink ball Test will be played at the newly-constructed Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad from 24 February.
The respective squads for the limited-overs leg are yet to be announced.
From fixtures to squads, here’s all you need to know as India host an international cricket series for the first time since March 2020:
England tour of India 2021 full schedule (All times IST):
5-9 February, 2021
India vs England, 1st Test at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (9.30 AM)
India vs England, 2nd Test at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (9.30 AM)
India vs England, 3rd Test (Day-Night) at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (2.30 PM)
India vs England, 4th Test at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (9.30 AM)
India vs England, 1st T20I at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (7 PM)
India vs England, 2nd T20I at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (7 PM)
India vs England, 3rd T20I at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (7 PM)
India vs England, 4th T20I at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (7 PM)
India vs England, 5th T20I at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad (7 PM)
India vs England, 1st ODI at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune (1.30 PM)
India vs England, 2nd ODI at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune (1.30 PM)
India vs England, 3rd ODI at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune (1.30 PM).
India Squad (For first two Tests): Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel.
England (For first two Tests): Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson.
How can I watch India vs England matches?
All India vs England matches can be seen LIVE on the Star Sports network, with streaming available on Disney + Hotstar. You can also follow our LIVE match blog on Firstpost.com.
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The 76-year-old veteran also lauded rising talent Rishabh Pant. He shared that Rahul Dravid was the team’s best batsman for quite a number of years. However, the two-time World Cup winner is now admiring Pant.
Bairstow, who is a wicketkeeper-batsman, played the two Tests in Sri Lanka as a specialist batsman before being sent home as part of England's workload management for their players.
Ishant Sharma attributed his remarkable longevity in the game to understanding what the "captain wants from him" than the other way round as he finds himself on the cusp of becoming only the second Indian pacer after Kapil Dev to play 100 Tests.