Team India may not have enjoyed much success in the Test matches in England in the past decade but they would be relieved to kickstart their five-Test campaign at a venue where they have done well in the past 14-15 years.
The first Test between England and India has got underway in Trent Bridge, Nottingham, a venue where the visitors on two of the past four occasions.
India won the Trent Bridge Test in 2007 to set up a historic series win and they did the same back in 2018 where they came back brilliantly after being 0-2 down in the series .
While most of the personnel that were involved during the 2018 win are present in the ongoing Test at Nottingham, the biggest contributor towards that win, Hardik Pandya, isn’t.
Hardik Pandya claimed 5/28 in England’s first innings in that game to help his side take a big lead before smashing a whirlwind half-century in the second innings.
Pandya’s presence is something that India will desperately miss, feels former off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh.
Pandya hasn’t played a First-Class match since the 2018 Southampton Test thanks to his troublesome back and he is not even a regular bowler in the shorter formats.
“I feel that Hardik Pandya’s absence could prove fatal for India. He had bowled well in Nottingham and this time the series will start in Nottingham itself. We all know that the conditions in Nottingham always favours the swing bowlers. England are always delighted at the prospect of playing at Trent Bridge as their bowlers perform well,” Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel.
With Nottingham being a venue that traditionally aids genuine swing bowlers, Harbhajan reckoned that Hardik Pandya’s addition could have made the playing XI stronger.
“I think the playing eleven would have been stronger had Hardik Pandya been there, not only due to his batting, but with the 10-15 overs he bowls in a day in swinging conditions, he can pick up wickets. And when he is in full flow, like the last time in Nottingham, he had picked up five wickets,” Harbhajan added.
Meanwhile, India have left their premier spinner, R. Ashwin, to accommodate the swing bowling all-rounder in Shardul Thakur for the first Test.