‘England will be happy with Jadeja’s absence for India’

New Delhi: Joe Root and his men will be happy with Ravindra Jadeja’s absence in India’s Test squad, having recently displayed their vulnerability against left-arm spin in Sri Lanka, former England batsman Mark Butcher has said.

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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.

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All-rounder Jadeja will miss the first two Tests after fracturing his thumb in Australia and left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav is not a certainty in India’s slow bowling attack led by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

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“Our batters had problems facing Embuldeniya,” Butcher, who played 71 Tests between 1997-2004, told Saturday’s Times of India newspaper.

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“England will be buoyed by Jadeja’s absence. India possesses a world-class bowling attack but Jadeja adds a different dimension to it.”

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Assistant coach Graham Thorpe warned the England batsmen against overdoing the sweep shot against the Indian spinners in the four-Test series beginning in Chennai on February 5.

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The tourists are expected to alter their opening pair and Butcher expects Zak Crawley to make way for Rory Burns who is back from paternity leave.

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“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.

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Burns, speedster Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes arrived earlier in India after being rested for the series in Sri Lanka.

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The trio, having served their quarantine period, began training at Chennai’s M A Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

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The full squad will train for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, a team spokesman said.

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