Newcomer Siraj, veteran Ishant locked in battle

New Delhi: From not having enough options due to a plethora of injuries, the Indian team will have a different worry while selecting the playing XI for the opening Test against England, with old warhorse Ishant Sharma facing tough competition from newcomer Mohammed Siraj. The Indian team had their first of the three available practice sessions today and going by the traditional Chepauk wicket that normally assists the spinners, India might go with two pacers and three spinners for the February 5-9 opener. All eyes will be on head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharath Arun and skipper Virat Kohli as the trio will have to make a tough call on who would partner Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah, who missed the last Test against Australia in Brisbane due to a groin strain, is fit and available to lead the pace attack. However, there are questions about 32-year-old veteran Ishant being out of red ball cricket for nearly one year. On the other hand, Siraj is in red-hot form, having picked 13 wickets in three Tests, including a five-wicket haul in Brisbane. pti

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