The biggest selection headaches facing England ahead of India test

England take on India in a hotly-anticipated five-match Test series beginning on August 4.

Chris Silverwood’s side have a busy schedule leading up to that date, with a three-match ODI series coming up against Sri Lanka.

They then take on Pakistan in three ODIs, followed by a further three T20s.

That means that all the matches England play between now and August 1 will exclusively feature the white ball – and only two rounds of County Championship matches will be played before then.

One positive England do have in their favour is the expected return of players rested for the two-Test series against New Zealand earlier this month due to IPL commitments.

Those names include the likes of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, who are both key components of England’s Test side when available.

The return of Stokes – and potentially Jos Buttler, depending on the seriousness of his recent calf injury – will be a massive boost to the side.

England’s batters generally struggled throughout the New Zealand series as a collective unit.

There were some impressive performances, notably from opener Rory Burns, who scored a century in the first Test, and Dan Lawrence, who hit 81 not out under pressure in the second Test.

But England were defeated in a home Test series for the first time since 2014.

Former England captain and current Sky pundit Nasser Hussain said that England need to “get back to playing normally” with the bat following their series defeat.

Let’s take a look at three selection dilemmas for England when it comes to picking their next Test XI:

Who does Stokes replace?

If fit, Ben Stokes will doubtless come straight back into the side. The only question is – who will he replace in the XI?

Zak Crawley burst on to the Test scene with a masterful 267 against Pakistan last summer, but has struggled for form since then.

The 23-year-old averaged just 5.25 in the New Zealand series, with a high score of 17.

Dan Lawrence impressed in the first innings of the second Test, scoring 81, although recorded ducks in his other two innings in the series.

If it is Crawley that is left out, captain Joe Root could potentially move up to three, or another batsman could come into the side.

One name that has been mentioned is Yorkshire’s Dawid Malan, who hit 199 for his county in a County Championship match earlier this month.

Rest & rotation for bowlers?

England have followed a policy of rest and rotation over the past year, partly due to the introduction of bio-secure bubbles.

Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran – members of all three England international sides – are amongst those who have been rested at different times.

With five Tests coming up against India, England could well take that same approach again – particularly where bowlers are concerned.

England’s two most senior bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, played both Tests in the New Zealand series – but increasingly often over the last few years, they have played alternate Test matches.

Mark Wood also played both Tests, but Olly Stone – who featured in the second match – has been ruled out of the series with a back injury.

Rest and rotation of bowlers – particularly in the seam department – could be crucial throughout the series.

Where does Root bat?

Joe Root has primarily batted at number four throughout his time as England captain, although there have often been calls for him to move up a spot to three.

With Zak Crawley struggling for form, it may be decided that now is the time for Root to bat after the first wicket falls.

There is no doubt, of course, when it comes to just how well he bats at number four. The 30-year-old averages 50.51 (89 innings, four not outs) whilst batting at four, compared to 38.66 (53 innings, three not outs) at three.

Interestingly, his most profitable position in terms of average is at number five, where he averages 67.78 across 31 innings, with four not outs,

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