Head coach Ravi Shastri has tried to keep the team's morale high by calling it the "best travel team in the last 15 years", something that is not corroborated by the facts.
A statistical analysis will show that India under the direction of Sourav Ganguly conducted test series in England (2002) and Australia (2003-04) in addition to winning a Test in West Indies (a team that had Brian Lara, Carl Hooper, Shivanarine Chanderpaul ) and a series in Pakistan.
Under Rahul Dravid, India won two series in the West Indies (2006) and England (2007), in addition to winning a test in South Africa. Under Anil Kumble, India won a test match in Perth for the first time, while under the direction of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian team won a series in New Zealand and also for the only time drew a series in South Africa.
After having lost consecutive series abroad in South Africa and England, the myth of being good travelers has been blown up and they have not been able to convince themselves that they are good enough to win a series outside the subcontinent. The team led by Kohli has maintained its ranking of number one tests despite the losses of the series in both tours abroad in 2018 so far.
In this context, Kohli & # 39; s India will play a test match where the team combination will again be under the spotlight. While they would like to play as well as possible eleven, there is also a case for experimentation with alignment. With the inclusion of Prithvi Shaw in the test squad, the Indian coaches are looking to the next line of starters. And with the fall of Murali Vijay, they must reaffirm their plans, since the focus will soon be on the Australian tour in December.
A school of thought suggests that Shaw should be thrown into the deep end of the pool to determine if he can take on the pressure of facing the best bowlers that international cricket offers. Even if he fails to get going on this one-shot, at the age of 18, Shaw still has time to climb the ladder again.
Meanwhile, any success on your part will provide an easy answer to the initial conundrum before the Australian tour.
The other school of thought suggests that the current opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul should be retained. If the selectors are in fact looking to the future, this could be a last chance for any of them to impress before the series against the West Indies and the domestic first-class season starts at home. The first indicators are that Shaw will have to wait for his chance, at least until the start season.
Elsewhere, India will seek to play with its combinations of order and bowling in the medium low. With Hardik Pandya failing to impress with the bat, management could test Hanuma Vihari in the middle, as he is also a skilled spinner. Ravindra Jadeja seems ready to play his first road test, with Ravichandran Ashwin not playing bowling on the net on Wednesday and moving cautiously as well.
Although there is no confirmation from the management, it has been known with certainty that it has aggravated the tension of his hip and the final test will be lost. Jasprit Bumrah could also rest taking into account the Asian Cup that will begin next week in the UAE. The player, along with Shardul Thakur, is part of India's limited squad and, as such, Umesh Yadav could make a reappearance in the side. For England, this test will be marked more by emotion than by anything else.
One of the best of its history, Alastair Cook, makes his last bow and leaves the hosts looking for potentially two starters for his Sri Lankan tour later in the year. Since an unchanged squadron for this fifth test was announced after Cook made public his decision to retire, the selectors retain faith in Keaton Jennings, who seemed to have turned a safe corner into the second possibility in Southampton.
England could also choose to rest one of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in light of their workloads, as Chris Woakes is fit again and available for the selection. The field, on Wednesday, had a green tinge like all the other terrains in this series. However, it was more an uneven spray than a uniform cover.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (week), Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
England: Joe Root (c), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Oliver Pope, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes.
(With PTI entries)