India vs England 4th Test Preview, Southampton: After delivering a performance for the ages at Nottingham, it is very likely that India captain Virat Kohli will for the first time go in with an unchanged xi at Southampton, but knowing Kohli you just cannot be certain. The temptation of a change would linger in Kohli’s mind given the rich bench strength the visitors possess. India will sure hope for an encore at Southampton. If at all a change has to be made, the axe could come down on Shami, who did not have a great outing at Nottingham, but, on the contrary, considering the green hard pitch that will be on offer that change looks unlikely.
With Ashwin suffering a hip stiffness he could be another vital cog who could be replaced. But considering he was bowled during both the practice sessions at Rose Bowl, he will play in all likelihood. If Kohli decides to rest Ashwin, it will give a chance to Ravindra Jadeja who stands a realistic chance of getting a go for the first time in the five-Test series.
Watch #TeamIndia get into the groove ahead of the 4th Test against England at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton.#ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/nBYixzK99P
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 28, 2018
On the other hand, hosts England will look to chop and change after a drubbing at Trent Bridge. The big question is, whether Jos Buttler will don the gloves as England’s wicketkeeper in place of Jonny Bairstow? Bairstow suffered a finger injury in the fourth Test while keeping but his form bat is too tempting to to miss for the home side. It is a high chance that England would field him purely as a specialist batter.
Given the woeful run of form, the chances for opener Keaton Jennings seem very limited now. He along with veteran opener Alastair Cook have consistently failed to provide the hosts any solid start in the series. Bairstow, who has been in great form as an opener in limited-overs format could be asked to perform the duties in the Test side as well.
The other change England would contemplate is dropping Adil Rashid and picking Moeen Ali in his place. Ali has performed well for Worcestershire, with the bat and the ball. Ali also will solidify England’s middle-order, which has crumbled under quality bowling and pressure.
England squad: Joe Root (C), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
India squad: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Hanuma Vihari.