'He adds a different dimension to it': Mark Butcher says 'England will be buoyed' with India all-rounder's absence
There are going to be some absentees from the Indian cricket team for the Test series against England. Several bowlers picked up an injury on the tour of Australia where India had to play multiple debutants. Some have recovered while others are still nursing an injury. Pacers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are missing the first two Tests while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will also miss the matches due to injury.
England will be looking to take advantage of the situation in a bid to improve their standings in the World Test Championship table. And they have a big chance with India's star all-rounder missing the first two Tests.
Former England batsman Mark Butcher also feels the same. He has said that Root and his men will be happy with Jadeja's absence in India's test squad, having recently displayed their vulnerability against left-arm spin in Sri Lanka.
England won both the tests in Sri Lanka but struggled to read left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who claimed 10 wickets in the second match at Galle.
All-rounder Jadeja will miss the first two tests after fracturing his thumb in Australia and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav is not a certainty in India's slow bowling attack led by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"Our batters had problems facing Embuldeniya," Butcher, who played 71 tests between 1997-2004, told Saturday's Times of India newspaper.
"England will be buoyed by Jadeja's absence. India possesses a world-class bowling attack but Jadeja adds a different dimension to it."
Assistant coach Graham Thorpe warned the England batsmen on Friday against overdoing the sweep shot against the Indian spinners in the four-test series beginning in Chennai on Feb. 5.
The tourists are expected to alter their opening pair and Butcher expected Zak Crawley to make way for Rory Burns who is back from paternity leave.
"Burns and (Dom) Sibley should be opening in the first test.
"A left-right combination is handy and England will want to stick with them. If the two get off to a good start, the rest of the batsmen too will gain confidence," Butcher said.
Burns, speedster Jofra Archer, and all-rounder Ben Stokes arrived earlier in India after being rested for the series in Sri Lanka.
The trio, having served their quarantine period, began training at Chennai's M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
The full squad will train for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, a team spokesman said.
(with Reuters inputs)