India have been dealt a huge blow as captain Rohit Sharma is doubtful for the one-off Test against England after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of days ago. The 35-year-old could well be replaced as captain by Jasprit Bumrah if he fails to recover in time.
Another headache for India is the way England have played their last Test series against New Zealand. Coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes seem to have completely turned around the mindset of the England team, especially in their batting department.
For three Tests in a row, England have chased down targets in excess of 270 with utmost ease and the stars have been the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. Gone seem to be those days where the England batting looked vulnerable in their own conditions.
Thus, it has become even more important now for India to be absolutely bang on with the bowling combination that they want to go in with for the one-off Test.
On that note, here are three ways in which they can line up:
#3 Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, Thakur, Ashwin
Jasprit Bumrah will undoubtedly be one of the most important bowlers for India in the one-off Test. The 28-year-old could also end up being the captain of the Test team. Should he get a chance to lead the Test team, he will be the first Indian fast bowler since the great Kapil Dev to get the honor.
Mohammad Shami would slot in nicely alongside him and has an important role to play. He has often made things happen even when Bumrah can't. That is perhaps why the duo complement each other really well.
Mohammad Siraj had a disappointing IPL 2022 season where he leaked runs and looked like the shadow of the bowler he once was. However, the pacer did really well in England last year and coach Rahul Dravid might want to show a bit more faith in him.
All-rounders Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin could have a bigger role to play as this bowling combination could make India's batting look a bit thin on paper. The duo will need to step up together with both the bat and the ball to give India a great chance of winning the Test.
#2 Bumrah, Shami, Krishna, Thakur, Jadeja
A more likely bowling combination than the aforementioned one would be if the likes of Prasidh Krishna and Ravindra Jadeja replace Siraj and Ashwin. Krishna has been highly impressive in first-class cricket and also showed in the practice game against Leicestershire that he has the pace.
Having seemingly moved on from veteran Ishant Sharma, India could pull a rabbit out of their hat and hand Krishna his Test debut on July 1. Jadeja seems to have an advantage over Ashwin because of the value he brings to the table as an all-rounder.
He recently scored 175 against Sri Lanka and also picked up 10 wickets, proving why he is arguably the best all-rounder in the world in Tests at the moment.
#1 Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, Thakur, Jadeja
The most balanced bowling attack from the options the visitors have seems to be when Bumrah, Shami and Siraj form the pace trio and Thakur and Jadeja are the all-rounders.
Jadeja's batting would surely have given the team management the confidence to go in with five bowling options. Thakur's two fifties in England last summer have proved that he is no slouch with the bat.
This gives the visitors batting depth till No. 8 and also an opportunity to attack upfront with Bumrah and Shami. It could still be a toss-up between Siraj and Krishna, but the former would hold the edge, having had more experience bowling in these conditions.