Home » India v England: Ollie Robinson & Shoaib Bashir replace Mark Wood & Rehan Ahmed for fourth Test

India v England: Ollie Robinson & Shoaib Bashir replace Mark Wood & Rehan Ahmed for fourth Test

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India v England: Ollie Robinson & Shoaib Bashir replace Mark Wood & Rehan Ahmed for fourth Test

Ollie Robinson has taken 76 wickets in 19 Test matches for EnglandVenue: JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi Dates: 23-27 February Time: 04:00 GMTCoverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, with daily Test Match Special podcasts on BBC Sounds

England have named Ollie Robinson and Shoaib Bashir in their side for the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

The tourists have once again picked two seamers, with Robinson coming in for Mark Wood, while off-spinner Bashir is recalled for leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed.

Captain Ben Stokes did not confirm whether he will bowl in a Test for the first time since July following surgery on his left knee in November.

India lead 2-1, meaning England must avoid defeat to keep the series alive.

Stokes, coach Brendon McCullum, assistant coaches Paul Collingwood and Jeetan Patel, and selector Luke Wright all had a long look at the pitch in Ranchi before Stokes confirmed the XI on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Stokes called it “interesting” and said he had “never seen” anything like it before, but 24 hours closer to the start of the Test, fears of it being incredibly difficult for batting appear to have eased.

“I don’t like to look for too much detail,” Stokes told BBC Sport. “You want to have some indication of what it will play like, because that’s how you pick the eleven. There is going to be the assistance for the spinners, but also the seam because of the dryness and cracks in the wicket.”

Pace bowler Wood misses out after a heavy workload in extreme heat in England’s huge 434-run defeat in the third Test. Leg spinner Rehan, 19, is effectively omitted for the first time in his four-Test career.

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With Bashir, Robinson and left-arm spinner Tom Hartley all in the same side, England have an array of tall bowlers that could extract any uneven bounce in the surface.

“Players like Woody you want to be operating when they are completely 100% fresh in order to throw everything that he has at the opposition,” said 32-year-old Stokes. “It was a Goliath effort last week from him. This break is good for him.

“The skillset Bash has is his release point and how much bounce he can get. We looked at that wicket, we thought that Bash’s skillset will give us more of a chance than what Rehan has got. That’s obviously not any disrespect to what Rehan has, it’s just how we pick our team, based on what we will think of giving us the best chance to win a Test.”

For 30-year-old Robinson, it is a return to the England side for the first time since the third Ashes Test at Headingley, when he struggled with a back injury.

“He’s been an incredible professional, the way in which he’s operated,” said Stokes. “The way he kept everything going, going and going through the obvious disappointment of not playing is a great way to operate.

“Now the chance is here. He has done everything he has needed to and I’m really looking forward to seeing him out on the park again.”

Stokes bowled at batters in the nets on Wednesday for the first time since his surgery in November, raising the prospect that he could return to his role as all-rounder ahead of schedule.

“[It] was a good day,” he said. “I’ve pulled up really well. It’s another step forward for me in terms of the ball. As keen as I am to get there, I do have to be very sensible about it.”

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An India win will preserve their 12-year unbeaten record in home Test series. They have rested paceman Jasprit Bumrah, rated as the number one Test bowler in the world.

“It is an important move from Jasprit Bumrah considering the amount of cricket he has,” former India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik told the Test Match Special podcast. “It’s important for India to take care of their crown jewel bowler.”

India have recovered from losing the first Test in Hyderabad to win the next two and Karthik believes it will take “something special” from England to prevent the hosts from winning the series.

“England have to put some big runs on the board,” said Karthik. “Their bowling has been acceptable. There has been a lot of positivity around the bowling, but we can’t say the same about the batting.

“If the batting comes good they can put pressure on India, but if they don’t bat well India will cruise to another Test series win in their home conditions.”

England team for fourth Test against India: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Tom Hartley, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson, Shoaib Bashir.

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