Craig Overton made his return to England‘s Test eleven in the third Test against India after a gap of two years. Before Headingley Test against Virat Kohli’s side, the pacer last donned in the whites in the 2019 Ashes.
Craig Overton replaced the Mark Wood, who had been ruled out of the third Test due to a jarred right shoulder, which he sustained while fielding in the second Test at Lord’s.
Former batsman Ian Bell, however, opined that he would have preferred Saqib Mahmood over Craig Overton in the eleven. Mahmood, who has been in excellent form in white-ball cricket, was added to the squad after Stuart Broad was ruled out of the second Test.
Ian Bell believes that Overton is ahead of Mahmood in the pecking order – he has been with the Test side for a longer time. Also, Bell added, the lanky pacer is a better batsman than Mahmood.
But, Bell said he would have liked to see the Lancashire speedster for his extra pace, which would have added more variety in a bowling attack comprising three medium-pacers in James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, and Sam Curran.
“I suppose it’s the consistency thing. Craig Overton has been just above Saqib Mahmood in the pecking order for a period of time. Part of me would have liked to see Saqib Mahmood make his Test debut. He’s a bit different, he has got a bit more pace than other guys. So it’s a very similar attack,” Bell told ESPNcricinfo.
“Sam Curran stays again – even though he didn’t score runs in the last game – and it looks a better batting line-up with Curran at 8. That’s a concern as they don’t want to be too light with the batting. But at the moment, it’s about the bowling. For me, I would have liked to see Mahmood play,” he added.
Craig Overton was picked on the conditions – Joe Root
Joe Root, who lost the toss, stated that Craig Overton’s selection over Mahmood was influenced by the conditions at Headingley and his consistent county performances since being dropped. He asserted that it was a tough choice to make for the management.
“Overton was picked on the conditions. Saqib was great in the white-ball format, but Overton continuously performs in county cricket so we’ve picked him, even though it was a difficult choice to make,” Root said at the toss.
Meanwhile, India are left reeling by Lunch after electing to bat first as the England pacers snapped four wickets in the first session.
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