IND vs ENG: Indian team receives grand welcome in Vizag

Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam will host its first Test match in five years. The anticipation among the local crowd is high, as they hit the streets to welcome the Indian team for their second Test match against England, which is slated to begin on February 2.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared a video of their reception in Vizag, where hundreds of fans were seen waiting in the airports, while the hotel staff welcomed them with a traditional song and a pendant.

Meanwhile, after the defeat in the first Test in Hyderabad, the Rohit Sharma-led side would aim to bounce back in Vizag to level the series. However, they suffered two major blows as KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of the second Test, with Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar, and Saurabh Kumar replacing them in the squad.

On the other hand, Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer’s form in red-ball cricket is concerning as well. They replaced Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, respectively, but haven’t been able to deliver for quite some time. The second Test will hold a lot of importance to them as returning Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will be ahead of them in the race for the third Test.

England will be much more relaxed after their 28-run victory in Hyderabad. Ollie Pope’s 196 runs in the second innings have given them a lot of confidence, while Tom Hartley’s seven-fer shows that they are ready for the challenge. Ahead of the second Test, head coach Brendon McCullum stated that they would not back out from playing four spinners in Vizag.

Shoaib Bahsir, who missed the first Test due to Visa issues, has joined the squad and might feature in the playing XI if the Three Lions plan for an all-spin attack. Joe Root has done well with the ball in the first match, as the all-rounder picked up five wickets, while Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed picked up two wickets each.