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A new era under Ben Stokes, and new Test team coach Brendon McCullum, has been characterized by a more aggressive style and England will go into Friday’s re-arranged Test against India with the same approach they displayed during their series win against New Zealand, the reigning World Test Champions.

The arrival of new coach McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, both known for their flamboyant and aggressive approach, has changed the attitude and mindset of the English Test side and it was on display from the first ball bowled at Lord’s in the first game, according to former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer.

When I asked him during a video chat whether England will play the same brand of cricket against India, Jaffer felt it may not be that easy for England as India has a better bowling line-up with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami but felt England would come hard at India.


Jonny Bairstow, according to him, will be the player to watch out for as he is a very dangerous batsman when he walks out to bat at No. 5 or 6 and starts striking the ball and demolishes the opposition’s plan like Adam Gilchrist used to do.

Jaffer felt that Cheteshwar Pujara, currently the most seniormost member of the team, would have been a better option compared to Bumrah who lacks experience of captaincy in any form of cricket when I asked him who should lead the team.

To my opinion that Virat Kohli should have been the captain of the decisive Test, given that India leads this series because of his captaincy during the first four Tests last year, Jaffer said: “I also feel that it should have gone to Kohli, but I am not sure if he would have taken it because of what has happened in the past but Pujara should have been the option as this series holds a lot of importance as India are in line for win a series in England after 2007.”

Jaffer also gave the example of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had never led a team before taking charge in the 2007 T20 World Cup, but went on to become the most successful captain in the world. ‘‘Similarly, Bumrah is intelligent and has a great cricketing sense but but this may not be the right time to give him the captaincy in such a high stake game,’’ he felt.

Sharing his batting order, the Mumbai stalwart recommended that Pujara should open the batting with Gill as he would be the right man to play James Anderson at the top followed by Hanuman Vihari at three, Kohli at four and Shreyas Iyer at five.

‘‘Iyer has scored a lot of runs in first class cricket and averages over 50-plus with a few double hundreds to justify his selection and plays attacking cricket that India would need. Rishabh Pant at 6, Ravindra Jadeja at 7 and Ravi Ashwin at No. 8. With the ball going to spin, Ashwin should be picked over Thakur because of his experience and someone who can bat and thee seamers - Bumrah, Shami and Siraj will make a solid line-up.

Finally, Jaffer said India should go in with the mindset to win the match and not to draw. He, however, believes that the momentum is with England with the brand of cricket they have been playing and are the favorites to win the match.

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group