Could it be that our eyes are set to deceive us and England are on the verge of playing three spinners in a Test match?
Usually when England tour the sub-continent, they take three spinners in the squad. Then in the first test they play only one of them, along with three seamers. England then usually fold like a pack of cards when their opponents – who have packed their side with three spinners – rip through the English batting line up twice.
Then what follows is another hammering, this time from the media, for England having been too cautious and afraid to break from the norm. Then common sense prevails, and England play two spinners for the remainder of the series (having already gifted their opponents a 1-0 lead).
All of that looks set to change when the first test between Bangladesh and England starts in Chittagong on Thursday morning, as England look set to go into the first test with not just two spinners on show, but three.
Yes, this is the new positive England, ready to give anything a go, and this means that they are likely to play Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, and one of either Gareth Batty, or Zafar Ansari – I’m guessing Batty will get the start.
Now lets not get too carried away by this sudden break from the norm of negativity from England, as a few stars have had to align for this unique situation to be able to occur. Unlike a lot of previous English teams, England have an all rounder at 6, rather than just an out and out batsman. This immediately frees up a seam bowling spot for an extra spinner on the sub continent.
Then there is the injury to James Anderson, which takes away an awkward decision from England’s selection panel. Going into the series, Anderson, Broad and Stokes would have been nailed on to start the first test. So that would have meant either dropping England’s man of the summer Chris Woakes, or just playing two spinners. Now I wonder what decision England would have gone with there?
Even the failure of James Vince in the summer seems to have helped England, as that means there is a spot free in the middle order for Moeen Ali to walk into, freeing up another spot in the lower order.
Ali found some form with the bat for England last summer, and he is a decent player of spin, so England will either move him into the top 6, or promote Jonny Bairstow up the order, and bat Ali at 7. Personally, I believe giving Ali some responsibility in the top 6 is no bad thing.
The test match starts at 5am (UK time), and is live on Sky Sports. In the cricket betting, England start the match at a very short looking 8/13 favourites. The draw is 5/2, and Bangladesh are 13/2.
England’s top batsman betting (for 1st Test) sees Joe Root as the 5/2 favourite with most layers. With Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, both 7/2 joint favourites to be the top Bangladeshi batsman.
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