After the debacle of losing the Test series against South Africa, the Indian team had to analyze what went wrong. One of the main reasons along with batting failure was the unfamiliarity of Indian players with South African pitches and lack of practice in local conditions before the Tests series.
Learning a lesson from that players like Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, and Ishant Sharma have already secured deals with English counties to play in the county cricket, before the Indian tour of England in July 2018. The 5 Tests series will begin from August, as the tour will start with 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs.
Even Indian captain Virat Kohli will play for Surrey in the English county cricket after IPL, to prepare for England tour.
Taking inspiration from these players, many more players should look for a county cricket stint in order to get familiarized with the English conditions.
Here is a list of 5 such players who should play English County Cricket
KL Rahul will be hoping to make his first journey to England coming July 2018. Rahul played two Tests in South Africa but wasn’t able to leave any mark with his performances. Rahul is a technically proficient batsman, who fails to handle pressure and has problems with the moving ball.
In England, the ball both moves in the air and off the pitch and with bowlers like James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, even the best of the best like Virat Kohli have struggled to score runs there. It will be essential for KL Rahul to get a chance to counter the swinging conditions in England, by playing for a county in the English county cricket.
M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan have already had their battles with swing and seam in England and if Rahul wants to make a case for himself in England, he needs to get a chance to play in the same conditions beforehand.
Murali Vijay is undoubtedly the best Test player in India currently along with Pujara and Rahane. However, even he has struggled against pace, seam and swing in South Africa recently scoring 1, 13, 46, 9, 8, 25 in six Test innings.
Last time when India toured England in 2014, Vijay scored a century (146) and a fifty at Trent Bridge, a 95 at Lord’s, and ended up as the highest run scorer in the series for India with 406 runs in 5 matches. He would want to repeat his performance in England again, but with his current form suggesting otherwise, a stint in English county cricket will do him a lot of good.
M Vijay will be one of the most vital players for India, who will be looking to avoid a repeat of last series’ result of the 3-1 series loss.
Jasprit Bumrah has impressed with his bowling performance in his first Test series against South Africa. He picked up 14 wickets in three Tests there with a best of 5/54 in the Johannesburg Test.
Bumrah has shown that he is comfortable bowling with the red ball and he will be eager to bowl in the swinging and seaming conditions in England. However, playing in county cricket will help Bumrah get acquainted with the conditions there.
Knowing conditions better will help Bumrah bowl better and get physically conditioned to encounter the cold and damp surroundings in England.
Kuldeep Yadav will be hopeful of making the tour to England as the third spinner.
One of the most exciting bowlers to make his debut in 2017, Kuldeep Yadav has taken the limited overs game by storm, picking 39 wickets in 20 ODIs, including a hat-trick against Australia and 12 wickets in 8 T20Is. He has also taken 9 wickets in 2 Tests.
Yadav might be able to get spin on some of the Test venues in England,due to him being a wrist spinner. In order to get better acquainted with the conditions in England and understand the line and length to bowl there; Kuldeep should definitely sign up with a county before the tour to England in July 2018.
Umesh Yadav spent the Test leg of the tour to South Africa on the bench, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohd Shami took 60 wickets in the 3 Test series.
He might find himself lower down in the rung when it comes to both Tests and ODIs, with Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar taking precedence over him. But with 99 wickets in 36 Tests and 102 wickets in 71 ODIs, Umesh Yadav may deceive when it comes to numbers and the impact he has on the game with his pace.
A tireless workhorse, Umesh Yadav is built for long spells at high speeds, something he showed in the Test series against Australia recently and his pace will come handy in England, and something Ishant Sharma proved when he bounced out the England batting at Lord’s on the last tour.
A stint in English County cricket will help Umesh Yadav immensely in proving his case for England and assist him in staking a claim for a place in playing XI.