Hyderabad, Jan 24: Will they stick to their same game plan? Or, considering the conditions, situations and strength of opposition, they will revert to the traditional approach?
This question continues to create curiosity among fans, cricket experts and former players, as the England team gets ready to face Indians on their own backyards in the five-match Test series, which starts here from Thursday.
English team's recent extra aggressive approach in Test cricket called widely as 'Bazball', is the point of concern.
Several former English players have warned Ben Stokes-led visiting side to revert to traditional Test cricket approach against the current Indian attack on spin-friendly subcontinent pitches.
No doubt, both sides are definitely tough fighters and have enough big names in their ranks.
But considering, India are playing at home, where they have mostly dominated in recent years, they definitely hold the edge. It's a fact, India are hard to beat at home in Test cricket.
In man to man comparisons too, Team India appear to be bit well balanced. The hosts also seem to be a better unit as a team. Their core Test team members have been around together for some time. They gel and complement each other very well.
The biggest USP of the present Indian Test team, is its spin department. Seasoned spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are world class performers. They are supported very well by Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and even the young spin talents, whoever is picked. On turning Indian tracks, they are expected to test not-so experienced English batters this time.
With such a situation in the offing, England's recent ultra-attacking batting strategy called 'Bazball' is likely to backfire, fear many cricket experts.
However, on the eve of the Test series against England, India fast-bowler Mohammed Siraj believes the matches may get over in one-and-a-half or two days if the visitors’ stick to their 'Bazball' style of play in the sub-continental conditions.
England last won a Test series in India 12 years ago, where Alastair Cook was the captain and spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, along with Kevin Pietersen played leading roles in the 2-1 triumph. In the 2021 tour, England had won the opening Test in Chennai, but lost next three games to lose the series 3-1 to India.
India are unbeaten in 16 home Test series after losing 2-1 to England in 2012. England, meanwhile, are yet to lose a Test series under the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum leadership group.
"If England play Bazball in Indian conditions, the match may get over within a day-and-a-half or two. It’s not easy to hit every time here as the ball turns sometimes and straightens on other occasions. So, I think it’ll be difficult to see Bazball here. But if they play it, it’ll be good for us as the match may get over quickly," said Siraj to broadcasters JioCinema.
In India’s last Test against South Africa at Cape Town, which is also the shortest match in the history of the format, Siraj demolished the Proteas batters with an electrifying spell of 6-15. He was then rested from the T20Is against Afghanistan with an eye to prepare for the Tests against England.
"On their previous tour to India, the matches were getting over quickly. In that series (in 2021) I think I played two matches. In the first innings of one of these, I bowled five overs and took two wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow."
"So, the aim will be to control runs in how many ever overs I bowl. If I get wickets fine, but I’ll have to stay patient and continue building pressure on the batsmen. I am waiting for all our fans in Hyderabad to turn up for the game. We love them a lot and look forward to their support."
Siraj also credited consistency in his performances for adapting well in different conditions and formats of the game. "I bowl with the new ball, so my line and length remain the same. I don’t change things whether it’s the white ball or the red ball. You have to bowl that length of five-six metres, because with the new ball, you have to pitch it up to get wickets."
"If the ball doesn’t swing, you have to adjust the length slightly. So, I try to find consistency and keep pitching the new ball at the same spot. That’s what I focus on whether it’s the new ball or the old ball. That consistency has helped me take wickets till now."
Speaking about the contrast in his nature on and off the field, Siraj said: "As a fast bowler, I get angry when someone hits me for a boundary. I feel like breaking their helmet or getting them out off the next ball. So, I ensure that I am always fired up in the middle and make the batsman feel scared."
Following the first game at Hyderabad on January 25, India and England will play other matches of the series at Visakhapatnam (February 2-6), Rajkot (February 15-19), Ranchi (February 23-27) and Dharamshala (March 7-11). (With IANS Support)