India and England are up for a long series starting with the test matches. MA Chidambaram Stadium, aka Chepauk, would host the first test of the series starting from the 5th of February.
Chepauk would be the venue for the first two tests, and the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad, will host the next two tests.
Both the teams will play 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs as well. The newly constructed Motera Stadium at Ahmedabad will host the T20Is. Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, will host the ODI series.
Both the teams have declared their lineup for the first two Tests of the series.
Indian squad for the first two tests
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (WK), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur.
England’s squad for the first two tests
Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson
India played a test match at the Chepauk back in 2016 against the same opponent. Do you remember that test? No? Do you remember Karun Nair? Yes, he is the only Indian after Virender Sehwag to score a triple-hundred in tests. Do you remember against whom he scored the triple-hundred? Yes, it was against England. Chepauk is the place where Karun Nair blasted over England’s so-called lethal pace-attack.
It was the last time that we saw Karun Nair in whites. It was the last time that India played at the Chepauk. England lost that test match by an inning and 75 runs.
In the last 20 years, India has played only 8 test matches at the Chepauk. Three out of these eight test matches have ended in a draw, and India has won the rest 5 test matches. It means that England not only needs to improve the previous record, but they also need to break a streak that India has at the Chepauk.
We are trying to look at three Indian players to watch out for in the first test at the Chepauk.
1. Virat Kohli
He will always find a place on a list like this. He was not in the best of form throughout the last year. For the first time since 2008, he was unable to score a century in a calendar year. He would indeed be looking to correct that record this year. It is the reason that he would be a crucial player in this series.
He has performed well every time he has been under pressure. This season would surely be no different for the Indian captain.
His other counter-parts in the fab-four have performed decently in the recent time. Steve Smith hit a century against India, while both Kane Williamson and Joe Root hit a double-century in the past few days. He will inevitably be looking to out-perform everyone else.
He was the player of the series in the last test series between India and England. He has scored 1,570 runs from 19 Tests at an average of 49.06 against England. All eyes would be upon him when India and England would reach Chepauk.
2. Shubman Gill
He scored 247 runs in 3 tests against Australia. He made 91 runs in the final inning of the last test at the Gabba. It was the inning that set the course of the match for India. Without a doubt, he was the match-winner in Australia. His technique and temperament in that series made everyone around the world his fan. He marked his arrival in international cricket with those innings. He could not score a century in Australia. But here against England, he will have a splendid opportunity to pile up some more runs.
Indeed, everyone is waiting for him to open the innings for India with Rohit Sharma.
3. Kuldeep Yadav
He is a surprise entry here, but he deserves mention in this list. He traveled with the team to Australia just after the IPL. He had a disappointing season for Kolkata Knight Riders.
He never got an opportunity to showcase his skill in Australia. Even when Ravindra Jadeja was injured, he was not there in the XI.
But against England, he is the second spinner in the team. Even if India decided to play Washington Sundar as an all-rounder, he might make it to the XI.
He has played 6 test matches till now. He has 24 wickets under his name, and he also has taken five wickets in an innings twice.
He is just 26 years right now and has got enough cricket left in him. He will need only one game to prove his worth. Let’s hope that opportunity knocks on his door in the first test only.