England hopeful Shoaib Bashir will be fit for series finale against India despite sickness bug… as Mark Wood returns with Ollie Robinson dropped after his wicketless fourth Test

  • Mark Wood is back in the England team for the final Test against India
  • Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir have been confirmed as the two spinners
  • England go into the fifth Test trailing 3-1 in the series

England today named Shoaib Bashir in their squad for the final Test even though he succumbed to the disease virus that has struck their team and the officials here.

Both Bashir and Ollie Robinson were missing as England trained today at this most picturesque of grounds in the foothills of the Himalayas, after going down overnight with stomach problems that also affected referees Joel Wilson and Kumar Dharmasena.

But England captain Ben Stokes, who announced one change to his side from the fourth Test and brought in Mark Wood for Robinson, is confident the young off-spinner will be fit enough to take his place on Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s anything to worry too much about,” Stokes insisted, having picked a balanced team of two seamers and two spinners to play on what he believes is “an absolute belt wicket”.

“They both woke up with a mild stomach upset and the day before the game you don’t want to put anyone in danger, so we decided to keep them away from the team. It’s the sensible thing to do.’

England have named Shoaib Bashir in their team for the fifth Test against India

Ben Stokes (right) is hopeful Bashir will be fit despite a bug

Ben Stokes (right) is hopeful Bashir will be fit despite a bug

Mark Wood is back in the team for England's fifth Test against India

Mark Wood is back in the team for England’s fifth Test against India

Both teams and the officials are staying at the same hotel in Dharamshala and the umpiring issue could lead to a Test debut for fourth official Jayaraman Madanagopal. Wilson will be here with Dharmasena as TV referee.

Stokes insists he has no contingency plans if Bashir fails to recover. England are now down to just 14 players for this trip after both of the other spinners in their squad, Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed, had to go home.

But if Bashir does not recover, England would likely hand a Test debut to Gus Atkinson or pick an additional batsman to bowl off-spin in Dan Lawrence rather than go back to Robinson, who has been left out for tactical reasons rather than illness.

Although Stokes was passionate in his public defense of Robinson today, the recurrence of an issue that affected him during his time with England should be a concern and he will have to prove his suitability for Sussex before playing Test cricket again.

Ollie Robinson has fallen after going wicketless in the fourth Test last week

Ollie Robinson has fallen after going wicketless in the fourth Test last week

Stokes was full of praise for Jimmy Anderson, who will play his fourth consecutive Test in this series after recovering from the tightness in his quad and needs just two wickets to become the first seamer in Test history to reach a remarkable 700 Test casualties reaches.

“I just don’t see Jimmy quitting,” Stokes said.

‘I’ve been playing with him for a long time and I’ve never seen him as physically fit as he is now. That at the age of 41 he shows his hunger and desire to get better every day is a testament to his attitude and dedication.”