Allan Lamb slams India's preparation for England tour

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 154 against India at Trent Bridge in 2014

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 154 against India at Trent Bridge in 2014

India skipper Kohli had taken the number one place after scoring 200 runs in his team's first-Test defeat by England, but slipped back after managing only 40 in the second match of the series at Lord's last week. "He has the temperament and skills to bat differently", said Dravid. "It's a position we've been trying to get into in the Test team for a while".

It would be extraordinary, if in keeping with much of the England and Wales Cricket Board's handling of the saga since Stokes's initial arrest almost 11 months ago, were they now to leave him out of the final XI. In that aspect atleast, there is some good news. They make three changes, and crucially captain Virat Kohli is fit after suffering back problems at Lord's. Never has an injury invoked so much interest since Sachin Tendulkar's tennis elbow.

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If Rashid was omitted, England captain Joe Root might have to gamble on his part-time off-spin more than he might like. This is where the hard part begins for India. Shikhar Dhawan, who averages 20.12 in England, 27.83 in Australia and18 in South Africa, could find it freaky that he keeps getting picked for these overseas assignments when it's quite clear he's happiest at home, where he averages 44.37.

India head into this week's third Test here at Trent Bridge in Nottingham with no other tour games in which players can either rediscover their form or make a case for being called-up. As it is, England are back to four right-armers. In these two instances, he has scored at a strike-rate of 68.93 and 57.29, respectively, which could once again go in his favour. Especially with Kohli regaining fitness, Karun Nair still isn't seen to be active during practice sessions. The tourists were completely outplayed in the second Test with England winning by an innings and 159 runs to leave them trailing 2-0 with three Tests left to play.

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For a team ranked No 1 - by such a margin that they will retain that position even if they lose this series 5-0 - such shoddiness in the slips amounts to an unwanted drag. Meanwhile, England have a big selection headache on their hands. He got a decent reception from a sizeable fan gathering ahead of the game, but how the crowd reacts to his presence in the game on Saturday could be a worry for the team management.

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