With a rather bleak and disappointing looking table following our three consecutive losses in the Global Test Championship, England travel to Afghanistan looking to beat the rising and potentially great test side containing spin aplomb.
Whilst we will not name the official XI to encounter 3rd placed Afghanistan, we can confirm that Somerset’s left arm spinner Jack Leach will add to his caps gained in New Zealand and Sri Lanka (real life) and make his GTC debut. His left arm off spin gives us a different dimension to our line up which will be boosted by Leach’s consistency and variety with the pink ball.
His definite inclusion means that a change at least will occur in our bowling attack with experienced seamer Stuart Broad at risk ,after taking two wickets @ 180, of losing his place if we decide the pitch favours spinners over seamers. Alternatively, the option to replace a batter remains on the table with both openers under pressure with the certainty that both Moeen Ali ( 11 wickets) and Adil Rashid ( 10 wickets) will feature heavily with the ball.
Reflecting on our first innings struggles with the bat (winning the toss and bowling would be preferred), Joe Denly is yet again included and could replace either Jennings (93 runs @ 15.50 ) or Burns (99 runs @ 16.50) as a predominately opening batsman but also the option of some handy leg spin. He joins Sam Curran, who was incidentally picked as a batsman and fast bowler Mark Wood in the 15 man squad touring to Asia.
With pressure certainly increases on all concerned in the England setup, a win wouldn’t go a miss but will no doubt be very tricky against a capable Afghanistan who have already shocked Australia so far in the GTC. The imminent threat of spin trio Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will definitely not be an exciting prospect for our batsman but we will need to be on top of them to ensure victory. Left arm seamer Ahmed is also a threat with the new and old ball whilst opening duo Inshullah and Ahmadi will be hoping to continue their imperious form. Stay tuned for Game 4 of the Global Test Championship and the round up of the other fixtures right her eon the website in the short future.