A five-match series in India, beginning in late January, will provide England with what is perhaps the toughest test of their established regime.

England start a packed schedule of Test cricket matches by participating in a five-match series in India to sustain their 'Bazball' revolution on the subcontinent. 

Under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, who assumed the role of coach for the Test squad in 2022, England has maintained an undefeated record in the Test series, both at home and abroad. They have achieved four victories and three draws. In the same span, they have achieved a Test win-loss record of 14 triumphs and six defeats. 

England suffered a 3-1 defeat during the last visit to India. They emerged victorious in the initial Test but suffered heavy defeats in the following three matches, losing by margins of 317 runs, 10 wickets, and an innings and 25 runs, respectively. Since their notable 2-1 triumph in the 2012-13 season, England have only won one Test out of nine matches played in India. They have suffered seven defeats and settled for a draw in the remaining game. 

Following the conclusion of the 2023 season, England's white-ball team embarked on a trip to the West Indies, which included T20 and one-day international matches. But first up on the 2024 schedule, India.  

England’s Tour of India: The Schedule 

  • 1st Test: Jan 25-29, @ 4 a.m. GMT (Hyderabad)
  • 2nd Test: Feb 2-6, @ 4 a.m. GMT (Visakhapatnam) 
  • 3rd Test: Feb 15-19, @ 4 a.m. GMT (Rajkot) 
  • 4th Test: Feb 23-27, @ 4 a.m. GMT (Ranchi) 
  • 5th Test: March 7-11, @ 4 a.m. GMT (Dharamsala) 

Projected England Squad Lineup 

England caused astonishment among their fans by revealing that Shoaib Bashir, a 20-year-old off-spinner from Somerset, would be one of the three new players making their first appearance in the team. 

With only six appearances in first-class cricket for Somerset, Bashir has been selected based on his potential, perhaps due to his elevated technique and remarkable displays during an England Lions training camp in the UAE. 

Among the 16 players in the touring group, the remaining two individuals who have not yet played in a Test match are Tom Hartley, a left-arm spinner from Lancashire, and Gus Atkinson, a fast bowler from Surrey. Both Hartley and Atkinson have represented the national side in limited-overs cricket. 

Rehan Ahmed, a leg-spinner, is included in the team with Jack Leach, who is returning after recovering from a stress fracture in his back. Leach provides an additional spin option for the team. Liam Dawson and Will Jacks, who have international experience as spinners, have been excluded. 

The seam-bowling possibilities consist of four players: James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Atkinson.

England’s Tour of India: The Betting Odds 

It’s no surprise that the latest bookmakers with free bet offers have positioned the home nation in the opening Indian-England Test Series game on Thursday, 25th January 2024, as the betting favourites.  

India Win [8/15]  

England Win [7/2] 

Draw [6/1]

India now has the highest ranking in Test cricket, following a 1-1 tie in the three-match series against South Africa with one of the tests featuring the shortest amount of overs in a single test (107.0). The hosts have officially announced their selection of a 16-player roster for the initial two Test matches:

India’s 16-Man Team Confirmed

Rohit Sharma (captain), Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Dhruv Jurel, KS Bharat, KL Rahul, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar and Mohammed Siraj. 

England vs. India: Most Recent Test Results

England’s Tour of India (2021) 

  • 1st Test: Draw
  • 2nd Test: India won (+151 runs) 
  • 3rd Test: England won (An innings + 76 runs) 
  • 4th Test: India won (+157 runs)  
  • 5th Test: England won (+7 wickets)  

India’s Tour of England (2021) 

  • 1st Test: England won (+227 runs)
  • 2nd Test: India won (+317 runs) 
  • 3rd Test: India won (+10 wicket)  
  • 4th Test: India won (An innings + 10 wickets)

England Faces a Stern Challenge in India 

India emerged victorious in 16 home series since their 1-2 defeat against England 13 years ago, the last series where the British squad found significant success. 

Sure, this year’s visiting party of England includes well-known IPL players, including Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow and Harry Brook. However, overcoming the world’s best won’t be easy. 

Despite a challenging performance in the Ashes last year, veteran James Anderson will continue to play a crucial role. During his sixth visit to India, the 41-year-old Anderson has taken 34 wickets at an average of 29.32. Out of them, 12 wickets were obtained during the 2012 trip.

England should demonstrate calculated assertiveness, drawing inspiration from Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen's hundreds during their decisive 10-wicket victory in the 2012 Mumbai Test.

The England test squad has made significant and indeterminable progress since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum assumed leadership. They indeed achieved a remarkable victory in Pakistan in 2022. However, it is important to note that Pakistan and India are distinct entities. The victorious England squad in Pakistan did not primarily rely on unfamiliar spinners.

The Opening Test 

The inaugural Test match will be held at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on January 25th.

The most recent test match at this stadium was in 2018 against the West Indies. This match was unusual, as Umesh Yadav took 10 wickets while Jason Holder managed to take five wickets. Nevertheless, despite a meagre first-innings lead of only 56 runs, India emerged victorious by 10 wickets, courtesy of Ashwin and Jadeja's combined effort of 5-36 in the second innings.

The motif here is readily discernible (and audible). We will probably witness significant scoring by the host team and a ground that becomes increasingly favourable for spin bowlers - like an exaggerated representation of Test cricket in India.

Is it possible for England to create an engaging and captivating situation? Is it possible for them to at least transform it into a competitive event?

We’ll soon find out.