Former pacer Zaheer Khan feels that England will start favourites against India in the rescheduled fifth Test match as they have a better match practice of red-ball cricket than the visitors ahead of the clash. The England cricket team started playing an attacking brand of cricket in Test after Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum were appointed Test captain and head coach respectively.
England completed a 3-0 series whitewash against New Zealand after winning the third and final Test by seven wickets.
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Zaheer feels that the hosts are in better touch than Rohit Sharma and co. as they have played plenty of red-ball cricket in recent times as compared to India.
“England have played more Tests than India in the past year. This is why I believe England are ahead of India when it comes to match practice. England have played a lot of matches recently and have also introduced major changes to the side. They are in better touch than India in terms of playing this format,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.
The veteran India pacer further highlighted that the Indian players were focused on playing the T20 format in the last couple of months with IPL 2022 followed by a five-match series against South Africa.
“The Indian cricketers were busy with the IPL for two and a half months. They later took on South Africa in a T20I series. The players have been busy playing only a single format. This is why they decided to come to England quite early to prepare well for the match,” he added.
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However, Zaheer feels that India have done proactive planning for the series decider. The visitors played a four-day warm-up match against Leicestershire to get used to the English conditions.
“India have done proactive planning as this is going to be a deciding game. But England will be very high on confidence after their series win over New Zealand,” he said.
Meanwhile, England have already announced their playing XI for the rescheduled Test. Veteran England pacer James Anderson, who missed the third Test match against New Zealand, returned to the playing XI for the series decider against India.
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