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Zafar Ansari to make debut in 2nd Test against Bangladesh

With one eye on the rest of the winter, England have made two changes to their bowling line up, as they are implementing what they are currently calling squad rotation, in a bid to keep bowlers fresh ahead of the upcoming 5 match Test series in India.

Making his debut on Friday at Dhaka, is Surrey spinner Zafar Ansari, who replaces county team mate Gareth Batty in the team, and there is also another recall for Steven Finn, as he comes in to replace the rested Stuart Broad.

These are the only two changes to the England team, as Gary Ballance lives to fight another day in the middle order, and Ben Duckett keeps his place at the top of the order, meaning 19 year old Lancashire batsman Haseeb Hameed will have to wait to make his debut.

Why rest Stuart Broad? I hear a lot of people ask, after all he hasn’t played any white ball cricket, and has had his feet up while Chris Woakes has been putting in the hard yards in all formats lately.

The only reason why I can think Broad is being rested, is because Alastair Cook wants his senior bowler wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the 1st Test against India. Cook is already without the services of Jimmy Anderson for the 1st (and possibly 2nd) Test, so he can ill afford to go into that series without both of his front line seamers.

However well Stokes and Woakes have done recently, they are a long way behind Anderson and Broad when it comes to experience, especially in sub-continent bowling conditions.

As for Gareth Batty, well Cook knows by now what he is getting from his senior (age-wise) spinner, so why not have a look at Zafar Ansari ahead of the India series.

I can see the logic in both of those decisions, but it does smack of being a bit inconsistent with regard to the batting. For a start off, we heard all summer how Jos Buttler hadn’t played enough red ball cricket, so why couldn’t he have had a bat in this Test match. And we were also led to believe that Haseeb Hameed was selected to open the batting.

An argument could be made for giving either of those two a run out, but maybe the fragile confidence of Gary Ballance was taken into consideration when deciding to stick with the same batting line up. What would rotating Ballance have done for his confidence? No one would have seen it as rotation, it would have been interpreted as Ballance getting dropped.

I do hope England haven’t backed themselves into a corner with selecting Duckett to open as well. Maybe it is a similar scenario with Duckett, where England don’t want to effect his confidence by shifting him down the order, or leaving him out, after just one Test match.

Bangladesh came very close in the 1st Test, and with a bit more luck and composure, would surely have won. It’s surely only a matter of time before they claim the scalps of England, and talk of squad rotation may be seen as a sign of arrogance by England, and could act as motivation for the Bangladeshis.

Onto the Cricket Betting, and the bookmakers make England favourites again to win this Test match, they around 4/6 to 8/11 to win the series 2-0. A drawn Test match is at 5/2 to 3/1, and a famous Bangladesh win can be backed at 7/2.

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The 2nd Test between Bangladesh and England is from Dhaka, and it starts on Friday morning at 4am, UK time, and is live on Sky Sports.

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