Mark Wood named in England XI for Rajkot Test, Shoaib Bashir sits out

Mark Wood named in England XI for Rajkot Test, Shoaib Bashir sits out

Mark Wood named in England XI for Rajkot Test, Shoaib Bashir sits out

Mark Wood has been recalled into the England playing XI for the third Test against India that gets underway on Thursday. Spinner Shoaib Bashir will sit out the contest in Rajkot with the series locked at 1-1.

England employed a single seamer strategy in both Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. In Hyderabad, Wood played as the lone seamer but went wicketless on a surface that did not suit his express pace. However, he has been recalled to partner James Anderson, who impressed with five wickets in Visakhapatnam in the second Test, on a surface that had been more green-tinged in the lead-up to the match.

Wood is the only change to the starting XI, with Bashir sitting out after claiming four wickets on debut in the second Test. It means that England will be playing two seamers for the first time in the series.

Rehan Ahmed’s participation in the Rajkot Test had been in some doubt after he encountered visa issues on return to India, following the team’s mid-series break in Abu Dhabi. However, that issue has been resolved.

England captain Ben Stokes said the visitors were never under any concern over his visa not coming in time. He backed Ahmed to pick up where he left off after the two Tests.

“It’s always an anxious period but thankfully we’ve got it through this morning. First of all the guys at the airport did a great job at giving him his visa initially to get through and then everyone at the BCCI and the government to get the visa through quickly. We don’t have to worry about any more of those issues.

“We were very confident we would get the visa for Rehan before the game started. There was no thoughts around not playing him this week. The great thing about youth is they just take everything in their stride and I thought he handled a situation that could have affected quite a lot of people in a different way very, very well for such a young kid. The Test matches he’s played so far, he’s done very, very well and everything we’ve asked of him he’s gone out and tried to deliver. I’m looking forward to him getting another game this week.”

England named their playing XI after one last look for Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. They were swayed towards a two-seamer approach by cracks in the pitch which they believe will lead to uneven bounce as the match goes on. Otherwise they expect a surface similar to the high-scoring affair from 2016.

“I know it was a very long time ago when we played here, but it looks a good wicket,” Stokes said. “Yesterday it actually looked quite English. It’s a little bit different today. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do with the team but today made us realise that we are definitely going to go with two seamers. It just looks a good wicket. It’s a bit platey. Over the five days, those plates might become a little but uneven. There might be some reverse swing which brings Woody into the game and Jimmy as well.”

England XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, James Anderson