‘We won’t be afraid’: Brendon McCullum hints at playing with all-spin attack for Vizag Test

Image Source : GETTY Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum during net session in London in July 2023

England men’s cricket team head coach Brendon McCullum revealed that Shoaib Bashir is in his plans for the second Test match against India starting on February 2. McCullum also hinted at naming an all-spin attack for the Vizag Test to defend their 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

The travelling side recorded a sensational 28-run win in the opening game in Hyderabad to stun the favourites Rohit Sharma-led side. The Indian team took a defining 190-run lead in the first innings but England overcame that by defending 230 runs on a spin-friendly surface at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Three Lions are further boosted by the arrival of uncapped Shoaib Bashir ahead of the next match. The young spinner missed the opening match due to a visa issue but England still proved superior in a spin battle with debutant Tom Hartley taking seven wickets in the second innings.

With the veteran Jack Leach and young Rehan Ahmed also contributing at some length, England might be tempted not to tinker with their winning combination but McCullum admitted that they will field an all-spin attack if the situation demands. 

“When he (Bashir) arrived, boys gave him a huge cheer and he got to witness something pretty special with the fellas bowling us to a Test win,” McCullum told Senz Radio. “He comes into calculations for the next Test match. If the wickets continue to spin as much as what we saw in the first Test as the series goes on, look, we won’t be afraid to play all spinners or a balance of what we’ve got.”

With the star batter Joe Root also contributing with five wickets in two innings, Ben Stokes and McCullum are likely to heavily rely on spinners in Visakhapatnam. Mark Wood was a lone pacer in the first game but is likely to be replaced by either James Anderson or Bashir in the second match. 

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