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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Ali Martin in Visakhapatnam

Shoaib Bashir to make England debut as Jimmy Anderson returns in India

Shoaib Bashir plays with a football during England practice in Visakhapatnam.
Shoaib Bashir’s arrival in India was delayed by a visa wrangle but Ben Stokes said: ‘It’s not like he’s forgotten how to bowl.’ Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It is a case of something old, something new for England in the second Test against India after Ben Stokes named his team on Thursday, 24 hours out from the toss. Jimmy Anderson and the uncapped Shoaib Bashir come into the attack in Visakhapatnam, with Mark Wood and the injured Jack Leach stepping aside.

Having taken a second look at the surface at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Stokes is convinced the balance that established a 1-0 lead in Hyderabad remains the way to go. Not that the two changes made by the England captain and the head coach, Brendon McCullum, are straight swaps: Anderson’s craft replaces the pace of Wood and Bashir, a right-arm off-spinner, turns it the other way from his Somerset teammate Leach.

The 20-year-old Bashir is the latest injection of youth, having been born 114 days after Anderson, 41, made his Test debut in May 2003. It follows his late arrival on tour – a visa complication meaning he landed on the morning of England’s fourth day victory in the first Test – but Stokes has no qualms about this immediate promotion. “There’s no worries and no issues for me that he’s been away from the group for a period of time, then coming back in to make his debut,” he said. “It’s not like he’s forgotten how to bowl.”

This recall for Anderson makes it a 22nd successive year of Test cricket for England’s record wicket-taker and a chance to move closer to 700 victims in the longest format. He sits 10 away from a mark breached only by Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800), with his hunger seemingly still burning bright despite a low-key Ashes summer.

Stokes said: “Bringing Jimmy’s experience, the class that he has, is great and it also goes under the radar how good his record in India is [34 wickets at an average of 29, economy rate of 2.65 runs per over]. Considering what Jimmy is known for – ‘the swing king’ and all that – it just proves how good a bowler he is.

“He has different skill sets that I will be able to exploit in Indian conditions. It’s not just for the new ball, it’s the other stuff he possesses as well. Lots of people should look up to Jimmy considering he is where he is at 41.”

For all of Anderson’s 183 caps’ worth of experience, the loss of Leach to a knee injury makes it a green frontline spin attack beyond Joe Root, now playing as an all-rounder. Rehan Ahmed is two Tests to the good and Tom Hartley one. But the 6ft 4in Bashir, who becomes the 99th England player since Anderson made his bow at Lord’s all those years ago, will certainly have the support of his captain.

England's Jimmy Anderson bowls
Jimmy Anderson prepares for the second Test against India. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Stokes said: “The thing he possesses is that natural ability, where he releases the ball from, how much energy he tries to put on the ball. Someone releasing the ball from height and putting that much on the ball is going to get that natural variation. That is very hard to play against out here.

“Some balls will skid, some will skid on. I’m fully backing him and looking forward to him going out on the field, hopefully putting on a good show.”

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, Jimmy Anderson.

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