Joe Root could open bowling for England against India, says skipper Ben Stokes | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: In a surprising twist, England skipper Ben Stokes revealed that the team is considering a change in strategy by having experienced batter Joe Root open the bowling in the first Test against India in Hyderabad on Thursday.
With Indian pitches traditionally favoring spinners, England have included four spinners in their 16-player squad for the Test series.Stokes suggested that Root, who bowls off-breaks, could play a strategic role, especially against left-handed batters like Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Root’s ability to turn the ball away from the left-hander could potentially pose challenges for the Indian batsmen.
This unconventional approach reflects England’s adaptability and willingness to explore different options to counter the conditions they face in the Test series against India. The strategic decision will be interesting to watch as the match unfolds.
“It would be a complete and utter ‘gut’ thing, as most of my decisions like that are. You might even see Rooty taking the new ball, depending on what I feel,” said Stokes in the pre-match press conference.
“If (left-hander) Yashasvi Jaiswal opens the batting, you might see Rooty opening the bowling because it’s spinning away from the bat,” Stokes added.
The prospect of Root, an experienced batter, opening the bowling for England in the Test format represents a significant departure from the traditional practice of relying on pacers to start the game, regardless of the conditions. If Root takes up this role, it would indeed alter the dynamics of the game and introduce a novel strategy.
Stokes emphasised that the team is not adhering to preconceived ideas about the playing surface. Instead, they are open to adapting their approach based on the evolving situation.
This flexible mindset reflects England’s willingness to explore unconventional strategies and tailor their game plan according to the specific conditions they encounter in the Test series against India.
The decision to potentially use Root as a bowler in a new-ball capacity suggests a creative and adaptive approach by the England team management.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s bold or brave. It’s just me and Baz (head coach Brendon McCullum) looking at the wicket and picking the XI that we think will give us the best chance. You have always got to think that the ball is going to turn in India, but you don’t want to go in with any preconceived ideas. We have to adapt to whatever we have presented in front of us, with bat and ball,” Stokes said.
“It’s just being true to yourself, making selections and decisions. It comes easier as I’ve done more of this… If I think the decision is best for the team, then it’s probably the right one,” Stokes added.
Root’s off-spin has yielded him six Test wickets in 135 appearances. He has dismissed the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Usman Khawaja, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and many more in red-ball cricket.
(With ANI inputs)


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