Dawid Malan has been recalled to the England squad with Dom Sibley dropped for the third Test against India at Headingley.

Sibley failed twice as England suffered a dramatic 151-run defeat in the second Test at Lord's.

The opening batsman and Zak Crawley have been omitted from a 15-man squad as Joe Root's side attempt to level the five-match series in Leeds next week.

Malan could come in at number three, with Haseeb Hameed opening after the left-hander returned to the Test set-up for the first time in three years.

Seamer Saqib Mahmood, called up as cover for the second Test, has also been included along with paceman Mark Wood, who will be monitored after suffering a shoulder injury at the Home of Cricket.

Spinner Jack Leach will return to Somerset, but remain on standby as back-up to Moeen Ali.



England head coach Chris Silverwood said: "Dawid Malan deserves his opportunity in the Test arena. He has a lot of experience across all formats and, if called upon, I am confident that he can come and do well on his home ground.

"In the limited time he has played first-class cricket this season, he has shown what he is capable of, scoring a highly accomplished 199 for Yorkshire against Sussex at Headingley in June.

"Zak Crawley will return to Kent to galvanise the excellent work he did last week in the nets at Lord's with assistant coach Graham Thorpe.

"Zak is still a massive part of our plans moving forward, but we feel he would benefit from time outside the pressure of international competition to get some time working on his skills.

"He has a bright future and I do not doubt that his time will come again in the Test arena.

"Dom Sibley needs some time away to regain his confidence after a challenging period. He will return to Warwickshire to spend time in the middle without the scrutiny and find some rhythm and confidence.

"Dom offers a lot of value to the Test environment and some time away should help him. However, he remains part of our plans.

"Jack Leach will return to Somerset to get some game time. I have been impressed with his patience and it's not easy living under the COVID protocols, especially when you're not playing.

"However, he has regained his confidence and spark, and it has been a considerable asset having him around.

"He will be on standby should we need his services, but we want what is best for him and playing cricket and getting overs into him is the way to go.

"We are hopeful that Mark Wood will be fit after injuring his right shoulder. Our medical team will be working with him each day. We will monitor where he is at when we get to Leeds.

"We also have the services of Saqib Mahmood, who's been brilliant across all formats this summer. He is confident, highly-skilled and will not be overawed if he makes his Test debut. His temperament and attitude are suited to the international arena."

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood.

Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will meet in their first game of the T20 World Cup on October 24.

The schedule for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman was confirmed on Tuesday, with the final taking place in Dubai on November 14.

Pakistan and India will do battle in their opening Super12 Group 2 match at 6 pm local time.

New Zealand will get their bid for glory underway against Pakistan in Sharjah two days later, while Afghanistan begin their campaign on 25 October against a qualifier

Holders West Indies play England in a repeat of the dramatic 2016 final in debut on October 23, the same day as Group 1 rivals Australia face South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

The opening game of the competition will see co-hosts Oman come up against Papua New Guinea in Group B on October 17, with Scotland and Bangladesh in action on the same day.

The first semi-final will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 10 and the second will be staged in Dubai the following day.

 

 

West Indies T20 World Cup schedule 

23 October

 England  vs   West Indies

 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

 26 October

South Africa  vs  West Indies


 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

29 October

West Indies  vs  B2

Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

 

4 November
  West Indies   A1

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

 

 6 November

Australia  vs  West Indies

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
  

 

  

Joe Root insisted he should take the blame for England's second Test capitulation against India.

England captain Root again top scored in each of his side's innings, as he did in the series opener at Trent Bridge, including an imperious 180 first time around that put the hosts in the ascendancy.

But it was his leadership in the field that was found wanting, most notably when Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) put on an unlikely and game-changing partnership of 89 for the ninth wicket as India declared on 298-8 – effectively placing victory out of reach for England with a target of 272.

Root (33) was then the only member of England's top five to reach double figures as openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley both went for ducks, setting the tone for 120 all out and a 151-run victory for India, despite some belated resistance from Jos Buttler (25).

"A lot of this defeat has to come on my shoulders. I could have done things differently this morning and we went from being in a very strong position to being behind the game," Root said at the post-match presentation, Ollie Robinson having left India eight down with their lead still below 200 inside the opening hour.

"I take responsibility for that as captain. I need to learn and be better tactically if we find ourselves in the same position."

England were fired up when Bumrah came to the crease, apparently keen on some retribution after the India paceman gave James Anderson a working over, although Root did not think this was a factor in the game getting away for his men.

"No, I don't think it was it," he replied. "I just got a few things slightly wrong, and credit to them for the way they batted."

India celebrated deliriously as all four of their seamers shone, with Mohammed Siraj (4-32) claiming the key wicket of Buttler and bowling James Anderson to complete the job.

"The intensity is what you expect with two competitive teams," said KL Rahul, named man of the match for his first-innings 129 after Root invited India to bat.

"It only shows how much each team wants to win. We don't mind a bit of banter – and if you go after one of our guys, all 11 of us will come right back at you.

"That got us going and the bowlers were really pumped to go out and have a crack at them."

India turned a gripping second Test on its head at Lord's and skittled England for 120 on the final evening to win by 151 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

An England victory appeared most likely when India resumed on 181-6, ahead by 154 in their second innings – and certainly when Ollie Robinson (2-45) removed the dangerous Rishabh Pant (22) and Ishant Sharma (16) with the lead still below 200.

But seamer Robinson found himself out in the middle with bat in hand in the final hour alongside Jos Buttler as England lurched to seven down.

The turning point came when Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) joined Mohammed Shami (56 not out) in an unlikely and unbroken ninth-wicket alliance of 89 before India declared on 298-8.

Shami crashed six fours and a huge six off Moeen Ali brought up his maiden Test fifty. Bumrah's 64-ball effort was also a career best and his very presence was arguably pivotal in England losing any semblance of composure.

The apparent desire for retribution after Bumrah gave James Anderson a working over appeared to outweigh to required cold-headed pursuit of the final two scalps of a tail that looked very inviting on paper.

Virat Kohli declared early in the second session and England's victory target of 272 became completely nominal after Rory Burns and Dom Sibley became their country's first openers to each fall for ducks in the same innings of a home Test.

Bumrah (3-33) had Burns caught off a leading edge in the first over and Shami (1-13) had Sibley caught behind. Haseeb Hameed at least occupied 45 deliveries for his nine but fell leg before to Ishant (2-13) and Jonny Bairstow perished in the same fashion on the stroke of tea.

England were staring down the barrel when captain Joe Root – again top scorer with 33 – edged Bumrah to Kohli at slip, The India skipper also pouched Moeen (13) before Mohammed Siraj (4-32) subjected Sam Curran to the first ever Test king pair at Lord's, although his drop when Buttler was on two looked like it might be key.

The white-ball master played with impeccable restraint for his 25 but lost Robinson lbw on review to Bumrah with 9.1 overs remaining and feathered a beauty behind three balls later from Siraj, who finished the job by emphatically bowling Anderson.

Familiar problems as Root fights a lone hand

Burns and Sibley's unwanted slice of history took them on to nine ducks between them in 2021 – the same amount suffered by Alastair Cook in his 161 Test career. The recalled Hameed also went for nought in the first innings and Bairstow's departure ensured Root was the only member of the top five to reach double figures. India's fast bowlers operated at a high level once again, but it is an utterly unacceptable return.

Pacemen give India a new dimension

India took a huge step towards a long-awaited series victory in England and should they finish the job over the next three Tests, their four-pronged pace attack will have had plenty to do with it. If the morning was about Bumrah and Shami's thrilling abandon, the conclusion was the story of four experts of their craft working in tandem to give an overmatched batting line-up no prospect of escape.

It is a defeat to rank among the ignominy of Adelaide 2006 and Trinidad 1994 for England and it feels virtually impossible to see Root's men plotting a recovery from here, having crumbled on the back of three days painstakingly working their way into the ascendency.

India turned a gripping second Test on its head at Lord's and skittled England for 120 on the final evening to win by 151 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

An England victory appeared most likely when India resumed on 181-6, ahead by 154 in their second innings – and certainly when Ollie Robinson (2-45) removed the dangerous Rishabh Pant (22) and Ishant Sharma (16) with the lead still below 200.

But seamer Robinson found himself out in the middle with bat in hand in the final hour alongside Jos Buttler as England lurched to seven down.

The turning point came when Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) joined Mohammed Shami (56 not out) in an unlikely and unbroken ninth-wicket alliance of 89 before India declared on 298-8.

Shami crashed six fours and a huge six off Moeen Ali brought up his maiden Test fifty. Bumrah's 64-ball effort was also a career best and his very presence was arguably pivotal in England losing any semblance of composure.

The apparent desire for retribution after Bumrah gave James Anderson a working over appeared to outweigh to required cold-headed pursuit of the final two scalps of a tail that looked very inviting on paper.

Virat Kohli declared early in the second session and England's victory target of 272 became completely nominal after Rory Burns and Dom Sibley became their country's first openers to each fall for ducks in the same innings of a home Test.

Bumrah (3-33) had Burns caught off a leading edge in the first over and Shami (1-13) had Sibley caught behind. Haseeb Hameed at least occupied 45 deliveries for his nine but fell leg before to Ishant (2-13) and Jonny Bairstow perished in the same fashion on the stroke of tea.

England were staring down the barrel when captain Joe Root – again top scorer with 33 – edged Bumrah to Kohli at slip, The India skipper also pouched Moeen (13) before Mohammed Siraj (4-32) subjected Sam Curran to the first ever Test king pair at Lord's, although his drop when Buttler was on two looked like it might be key.

The white-ball master played with impeccable restraint for his 25 but lost Robinson lbw on review to Bumrah with 9.1 overs remaining and feathered a beauty behind three balls later from Siraj, who finished the job by emphatically bowling Anderson.

Familiar problems as Root fights a lone hand

Burns and Sibley's unwanted slice of history took them on to nine ducks between them in 2021 – the same amount suffered by Alastair Cook in his 161 Test career. The recalled Hameed also went for nought in the first innings and Bairstow's departure ensured Root was the only member of the top five to reach double figures. India's fast bowlers operated at a high level once again, but it is an utterly unacceptable return.

Pacemen give India a new dimension

India took a huge step towards a long-awaited series victory in England and should they finish the job over the next three Tests, their four-pronged pace attack will have had plenty to do with it. If the morning was about Bumrah and Shami's thrilling abandon, the conclusion was the story of four experts of their craft working in tandem to give an overmatched batting line-up no prospect of escape.

It is a defeat to rank among the ignominy of Adelaide 2006 and Trinidad 1994 for England and it feels virtually impossible to see Root's men plotting a recovery from here, having crumbled on the back of three days painstakingly working their way into the ascendency.

Mark Wood led the attack as England boosted their hopes of victory in the second Test as India were reduced to 181-6 by the end of an absorbing fourth day at Lord's.

Holding a slender first-innings lead of 27, England quickly put their opponents under pressure with three early wickets before Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane held up the hosts.

The duo put on a 100-run stand to help ease concerns for India, only for the tourists to then lose three wickets for 20 runs before the close, leaving the game wonderfully poised.

KL Rahul had scored a century on day one but fell for just five second time around, caught behind off the impressive Wood (3-40). Rohit Sharma erased the deficit with two fours and a six, though fell to the same bowler – caught in the deep taking on the short ball – before his side had gone ahead.

However, it was Sam Curran who struck the crucial blow, claiming his first wicket of the series as Virat Kohli was caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler after prodding tamely at a delivery outside off stump.

Kohli's departure for 20 left India teetering at 55-3 just prior to lunch, yet England's attack could not make further inroads in the afternoon session.

However, Pujara was eventually dismissed for a battling 45 by a brute of a delivery from Wood, the ball rising off a length to take the edge and be caught by Joe Root at second slip.

Ajinkya Rahane did reach his half-century but became one of two late wickets for off-spinner Moeen Ali, a thin edge ending his knock at 61. Ravindra Jadeja did not last too long, beaten by one that turned to be bowled for three.

Rishabh Pant survived a late trial by spin in fading light to finish on 20 not out, with his continued presence in the middle – and just the tail for company – adding further intrigue ahead of Monday's play.

Digging in

Pujara has had a lean time of it of late, this his highest score since making 73 against the same opponents in Chennai back in February. Indeed, since the start of 2020, he has averaged just 25.95 with no century since the tour of Australia over two years ago.

It took him 35 balls and 51 minutes to get off the mark on Sunday, a long-awaited single greeted by ironic cheers from the crowd and a wry smile from Pujara himself.

Wood makes things happen

England let slip a chance to dismiss Rahane on 31, Jonny Bairstow unable to hang on to a tough diving chance off Ali, but the late clatter of wickets could be crucial in the final reckoning.

Wood started the mini-collapse by ending Pujara's stubborn resistance, fine reward for the pace bowler's perseverance on a sluggish surface. Worryingly, though, he was not on the field at the finish after hurting his shoulder diving to stop a boundary.

Joe Root again came to the rescue as England threatened to squander the foothold James Anderson's five-wicket haul had gained them against India on Friday.

Led by Anderson (5-62), some excellent work with the ball allowed England to begin their reply in the second session on day two of the second Test at Lord's, despite India having resumed on 276-3.

KL Rahul was gone early, adding just two as he departed for 129, and only Rishabh Pant (37) and Ravindra Jadeja (40) offered any serious resistance thereafter as the tourists were all out for 364.

England made it to 23 without loss before Mohammed Siraj removed Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed from consecutive balls to prompt a battling Root display, during which he passed Graham Gooch to go second on his country's list for Test runs. He was 48 not out with his team 119-3 at stumps.

The captain's knock, aided by 49 from Rory Burns, ensured England remained in contention at the end of a promising day, despite Siraj's spell.

India had quickly set about undoing their hard work on Thursday as the long-awaited wicket of Rahul went to Ollie Robinson from the second ball, before Ajinkya Rahane then followed to Anderson in the next over.

The tourists did then threaten to build a third big partnership until another timely intervention when Pant paid for his aggressive approach, swiping at a Mark Wood delivery that carried into Jos Buttler's gloves – again, one became two, with Mohammed Shami's jaunt to the crease a brief one.

It fell to Anderson to wrap up the innings, trapping Ishant Sharma lbw, earning a nick behind off Jasprit Bumrah's glove to complete his five-for and then getting underneath a wild Jadeja swing off the bowling of Wood.

England started steadily enough in reply, only to have Sibley pick out Rahul at short mid-wicket soon after tea.

The recalled Hameed departed quickly to a straight one to bring out Root, who teased two wasted reviews out of opposite number Virat Kohli before settling in to put on an 84-run partnership with Burns – a stand that was eventually broken when the opener went lbw.

Ageless Anderson

Anderson was supposed to be injured, of course, but did not show it in a typically influential outing. His 31st five-for was his seventh at Lord's, tying Trent Bridge for his favourite ground in this sense.

And, at 39 years and 14 days, Anderson became the oldest pace bowler to take five wickets in a Test innings since 1951. Only New Zealand legend Richard Hadlee, against England in July 1990, had also taken five at the age of 39 in the intervening period.

Root reaches second

With 48 here, Root moves ahead of Gooch (8,900) and now trails only Alastair Cook (12,472). The England captain has scored 1,000 or more runs against five Test nations, but India (2,011) tops the list of opponents.

This track record clearly played on Kohli's mind in the final session as he twice reviewed for lbw when on both occasions he might have held fire against another player in the England side.

KL Rahul controlled day one of the second Test at Lord's, helping India move into a commanding position after being put in amid gloomy conditions by England captain Joe Root.

England had James Anderson to call on at the start of the second Test despite concerns over a thigh injury, but another fine spell from the veteran pace bowler provided only brief respite.

Rohit Sharma dug in to make 83 before Anderson (2-52) was able to intervene, while losing Cheteshwar Pujara (nine) did not disrupt Rahul en route to reaching 127 not out.

After pairing with Rohit to put on 126, the opener added 117 with Virat Kohli (42) and was still unbeaten as India reached stumps on 276-3, albeit having by that stage lost their skipper to Ollie Robinson.

The London cloud cover should have made the tourists work, yet rain delays denied England any early momentum and Rohit instead brought up a patient half-century after lunch, India reaching three figures without too many alarms.

Typically, it was Anderson who then provided the much-needed breakthrough, getting a sublime ball to nip back in and clip the top of Rohit's off stump.

Anderson continued to apply the pressure and Pujara survived an lbw review and a narrow escape through the slips. However, when his edge was found again, Jonny Bairstow claimed a simple catch.

India regrouped at tea, however, and the weather cleared to allow Rahul – passing the hundred mark with a four through third man – and captain Kohli to bat late into the final session.

The second new ball and an Anderson-Robinson attack turned up the heat just a little and Kohli edged to opposite number Root, but that dismissal did little to alter the complexion of the day or, seemingly, the match while England's desperation saw another review squandered in the closing stages.

Anderson at the fore again

England have depth in their bowling attack, but they also have plenty of injuries. If Anderson had missed out too, this testing day could have been considerably worse for the hosts.

In his 164th Test, Anderson proved as reliable as ever to offer a glimmer of hope, before Robinson (1-47) finally got in on the act, adding a wicket to the side's most economical bowling figures (2.04 runs per over).

Rahul relishes opportunity

India's batsmen rather failed to build on a promising start in their opening innings of the drawn series opener at Trent Bridge. This time, asked to have a go in conditions that should have suited England's bowlers, they excelled.

Rohit minimised the risks but still tallied 11 fours and a six, before Rahul showed off the wealth of talent India have to offer. He may not even have played if not for Mayank Agarwal's injury yet moved through the gears in impressive fashion to secure a place on the famous honours board from his 212th ball.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison is "very confident" of this year's Ashes series going ahead in Australia.

Joe Root's England side are due to start their bid to regain the urn at The Gabba on December 8, with the fifth and final Test scheduled to begin at Optus Stadium in Perth on January 18.

However, England players have raised concerns about the possibility of their families not being able to join them for the trip due to Australia's tight border controls during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the prospect of lengthy quarantines.

Multi-format players such as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler face the prospect of four months away from home as the T20 World Cup takes place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman ahead of the Ashes. 

Talks between the ECB and Cricket Australia are ongoing to reach a compromise and Harrison is optimistic that a full-strength England party will make the trip.

"We are working very closely with Cricket Australia (CA) and I had my latest conversation with my counterpart at CA yesterday," Harrison said. "We are speaking every few days on the matter.

"All the right conversations are happening at government level in Australia and we will be using our own diplomatic channels in the UK to ensure the view of the players and the ECB [is heard].

"This is not players asking for anything unreasonable – these are very reasonable requests that we are asking the Australian government to give some leniency, frankly.

"It's going to be important for us to ensure we can give comfort to players that their families are going to be able to be in Australia and that those conditions in which they are quarantined will be reasonable, enabling the players to be at their best in that Test series.

"It's a conversation that's going to take place over the next few weeks but I am very confident we will get to a place where we can fulfil our obligations to tour."

Jonny Bairstow says England can contend without Stuart Broad and James Anderson when India go in search of a rare Test win at Lord's.

Broad has been ruled out of the remainder of the five-match series after suffering a torn calf in training on Tuesday, while Anderson is expected to miss out with a quad injury.

Saqib Mahmood was called up to the squad on Wednesday and could make his debut in the absence of England's vastly experienced seam duo, with Moeen Ali poised to return in the longest format.

Bairstow cited the ODI series against Pakistan, which England won despite having to name a totally new squad at the eleventh hour following a coronavirus outbreak, as an example that other players can step in and take their chance.

“It would be a big loss [if both Anderson and Broad miss out], naturally, because they've got over a thousand Test wickets between them," said Bairstow.

"I don’t think it's too much of a destabiliser to be honest. I think with the nature of professional sport there is going to be injuries at times, there is going to be illness, it can happen overnight and you've got to be adaptable within the group.

"It's potentially a loss but with that comes an opportunity for other people. When we've seen that previously in the summer, in the Pakistan series, there were opportunities that arose for other people coming in and they rose to those challenges."

India also suffered an injury blow, with seamer Shardul Thakur missing due to a hamstring problem.

Ravichandran Ashwin could come into the team as a second spinner, while Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are pushing for recalls.

The first Test ended in a draw after the final day was washed out at Trent Bridge, with the tourists chasing 209 to win. Both sides were docked two points in the ICC World Test Championship points for slow-over rates in Nottingham.

 

 

ROOT BACK ABOVE KOHLI BUT IN NEED OF SUPPORT

Joe Root's exploits in the opening Test moved him above India captain Virat Kohli into fourth in the ICC Test Batting Rankings.

Root came to the rescue with a masterful 109 in the second innings after the England skipper top scored with 64 in his side's 183 all out in the first innings.

England's top three of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley are under pressure, with Haseeb Hameed waiting for his chance to step in.

 

KOHLI: MOEEN A DANGER MAN

All-rounder Moeen is poised to switch from The Hundred to the Test arena after he was called up this week.

Moeen claimed match figures of 8-226 when he returned to the Test stage against India in Chennai six months ago and Kohli is well aware of his quality.

Kohli said: "We are wary of his skills. He's obviously a very talented cricketer, brings consistency with the ball and as a middle-order or lower-order batsman. Especially in Test cricket, he can change the momentum of the game with the bat. 

"He's in great form right now, he's batting really well and with the ball he is always someone that the team has banked on, so we will have to be at our best going up against Moeen."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have lost just two of their 18 Tests against India at Lord's, winning 12 and drawing two. The last India win at the famous venue came in 2014. 
- England have failed to register a win in their past six Test matches (D2, L4), their longest winless run since 2017-2018, when they failed to register a win in eight matches (D2 L6).
- Root (8,887) is 14 away from becoming the second-highest run-scorer for England in Test history (Graham Gooch – 8,900). Root is the only player to score over 1,000 runs since the beginning of 2021 in the longest format.
- Ravichandran Ashwin (413) is five away from becoming the third-highest Test wicket-taker for India, with Harbhajan Singh on 417.

England seamer Stuart Broad will miss the remainder of the Test series against India after tearing his right calf.

Broad suffered the injury during the warm-up in training on Tuesday and will play no further part in the five-match series.

England called up Saqib Mahmood as cover on Wednesday, with James Anderson also set to miss the second Test at Lord's this week after struggling with a tight thigh.

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement read: "England seamer Stuart Broad has sustained a tear to his right calf and has been ruled out of the Test series against India.

"He underwent an MRI scan in London on Wednesday lunchtime, which revealed a tear."

Mahmood could be set to make his Test debut on Thursday in the absence of England's vastly experienced new-ball pairing of Broad and Anderson.

Pace duo Mark Wood and Craig Overton are also pushing for recalls, while off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali was added to the squad this week following a first Test that ended in a draw at Trent Bridge.

Xavi feels sympathy for Lionel Messi and his former club Barcelona following the superstar forward's switch to Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi held a tearful news conference on Sunday to confirm the end of his 21-year stay at Camp Nou ahead of completing a move to PSG on Tuesday.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner revealed both he and Barcelona did everything possible to agree a new deal, but it was made impossible by "financial and structural obstacles".

Xavi, who won 24 trophies playing in the same side as Messi prior to departing Barca in 2015, is upset that the Argentina international was effectively forced out of the door.

"I'm just so sad for Leo," Xavi, who is now managing Qatari club Al Sadd, told The Times. "It's a pity to see he and the club couldn't find a solution.

"I know that Leo wanted to stay, but in the end it could not be sorted.

"The only thing I can say now is that I will miss him a lot. It's even hard for me to picture Messi with a shirt other than Barca's. 

"It's sad for Leo, especially for how I saw him emotionally at the Camp Nou the other day, but for FC Barcelona as well."

 

As Barcelona get set to begin a new season without Messi for the first time since 2003, there will be plenty of onus on others in Ronald Koeman's squad stepping up.

One of those who has already made big strides in his first full campaign at Camp Nou is young midfielder Pedri, who also impressed for Spain at Euro 2020 and the Olympics.

He played more passes in the opposition half (461) than any player at Euro 2020.

Pedri's 421 successful passes was bettered by only four players, with the 18-year-old completing 65 of the 66 attempted in the semi-final loss to Italy – that one misplaced pass coming in extra time.

And Xavi can see similarities between Pedri and another Barcelona icon in Andres Iniesta, who spent 16 years in Barcelona's first team.

"Pedri is unbelievable. The kid has Iniesta's profile of a player, for sure," Xavi said.

"Watching him play at his age, doing what he does, leaves you with the only answer: he'll be great. Actually, he already is so impressive, but he can be even better."

While Spain's campaign ended at the last four stage, England reached the final on home soil before suffering a cruel defeat to Italy on penalties.

Xavi was impressed by what he saw from Gareth Southgate's side and in particular a couple of their midfielders.

"I've seen England at a fantastic level. They have absolutely everything in the squad. Well, actually they were not champions just because of a penalty," he said.

"This generation is young, physically strong but also great technically. With this group of players, they'll always be competitive.

"I can see them fighting for the World Cup, without a shadow of a doubt. They are almost there.

"I think that sooner rather than later they'll have this spark of luck you need to win trophies.

"I have also been hugely impressed by the two midfielders, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips. I did not know them that well, but they were superb.

"You can see a centre-back like John Stones and how he plays the ball out from the defence.

"Next to him there's [Harry] Maguire, who drives up the ball to split the opponent's pressing. 

"How the full-backs and wing-backs behave for the team . . . there are details that speak volumes of Southgate's work."

 

Euro 2020 was a rather mixed tournament for Phil Foden, who started England's first two matches but struggled to make an impact and was largely overlooked from that point on.

"I think he is an unreal talent for a lot of reasons," Xavi said of the Manchester City midfielder. "He has an amazing work rate, but also his decision-making is ace. 

"He's strong, quick, has a sense of goal, great passer and shooter... There's everything in the pack.

"I would have loved to see more game time for Foden. When you have this number of talented players, all I can think of is putting them on the pitch. 

"I understand it's very tough to make changes with the squad Southgate had. There were a lot of options in his hands and only eleven could play. 

"But it's a pity to see so many special talents with not much playing time."

Saqib Mahmood has been called up to the England squad for the second Test against India at Lord's, with James Anderson an injury doubt.

Mahmood was added to the squad as cover before it was reported by The Sun that his Lancashire team-mate Anderson did not bowl in training on Wednesday due to stiffness in his thigh.

Follow veteran Stuart Broad has also been sidelined due to a tweaked right calf ahead of the second of five Tests versus Virat Kohli's side, which starts on Thursday.

Joe Root is also unable to call upon Ben Stokes, who took a break for mental health reasons, Jofra Archer (elbow), Chris Woakes (heel) and Olly Stone (stress fracture of the back).

Paceman Mahmood has not played for England in the longest format, but the 24-year-old seamer has made an impressive start to his white-ball career at international level.

He has 14 wickets in seven ODIs at an average of 19.92 and was named player of the series in the recent 3-0 win over Pakistan.

 

England also called up all-rounder Moeen Ali on Tuesday, while batsman Ollie Pope could return after recovering from a quad injury.

Meanwhile, both England and India have been docked two points in the ICC World Test Championship and fined 40 per cent of their match fees due to slow over-rates in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.

Moeen Ali has been added to England's squad for the second Test against India, which starts at Lord's on Thursday.

The hosts escaped with a draw in last week's opener at Trent Bridge, thanks to rain on the final day and the stunning exploits of captain Joe Root – whose 64 and 109 made him the only England player to pass 50 in either innings.

Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen last featured at Test level against India in February, with his previous home outing coming in the 2019 Ashes.

He gives Root and coach Chris Silverwood the option of offering greater balance to the bowling attack while also bolstering that flimsy batting card.

England named a four-man, all-seam attack in Ben Stokes' absence last time out, despite the presence of off-spinner Dom Bess and slow left-armer Jack Leach in a sizeable squad that Moeen's inclusion now swells to 18.

The 34-year-old has been captaining Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural Hundred and struck 59 off 28 balls in a dominant 93-run win over Welsh Fire on Monday.

He was in a similarly belligerent mood when smashing an 18-ball 43 in a losing cause in Chennai earlier this year, although the most recent of his five Test centuries came in December 2016.

 

That was also against India and it is likely Moeen's success with the ball against Virat Kohli's men is the driving factor in his recall. In 13 Tests against England's current opponents, he has 49 wickets at an average of 31.91.

If he plays at Lord's, Moeen is unlikely to be the only change. Haseeb Hameed is in contention to step into a misfiring top order, with Zak Crawley the leading candidate to make way.

Ollie Pope missed the opening Test due to a thigh injury and could return, while fast bowler Mark Wood might come into the reckoning after Sam Curran and Stuart Broad took one wicket between them at Trent Bridge.

 

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Mark Wood.

India captain Virat Kohli and England counterpart Joe Root both agreed rain had ruined the prospect of a fascinating final day in the first Test.

No play was possible on Sunday in Nottingham due to bad weather, with India having been due to resume their second innings on 52-1 in pursuit of a target of 209.

Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara had helped the tourists come through a tricky 14-over spell late on day four, the only setback for India being the departure of KL Rahul for 26.

Despite the disappointment on not being able to capitalise on the opportunity to push for victory, Kohli was pleased with the way his team had performed at the start of the five-match series.

"We were expecting rain on days three and four, then it chooses to arrive on day five," Kohli lamented in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.

"We thought we were in a good position to have a crack at the target. It would have been a really nice, interesting day of Test cricket, one that would have been enjoyable to watch and certainly enjoyable to be a part of, so it's a shame.

"This is exactly what we wanted to do – we wanted to start strong. Heading into day five, we felt like we had our chances in front of us.

"One good partnership and you know what happens when there's only 150-odd to defend.

"It certainly felt like we were on top in the game, we bowled well enough and batted well enough to stay in the contest, then getting that lead was crucial."

Root had made sure India did not have a straightforward task batting last, his 21st Test century giving England's bowlers something to work with. He had faith in his attack to create opportunities, too, only for persistent downpours to put paid to the home side's hopes.

"It was a great Test match. I think the weather has robbed us of what could have been a very exciting final day," Root told Sky Sports.

"It bodes well for the rest of the series. Hopefully we can take some of the good stuff out of this week into the rest of it.

"Having spent a lot of time on that wicket, it felt like there were going to be nine opportunities within play. It was just making sure we were smart to get the game to go long enough.

"It felt like there was going to be that opportunity there, it's just a shame the weather won today."

Root pipped Jasprit Bumrah to the player of the match award, the latter having taken nine wickets in the contest as India's decision to pick just the one spinner worked out.

Kohli revealed that it is likely they will continue with the same policy in the remainder of the trip, starting with the second Test at Lord's.

"Most likely it will be the template for the rest of the series, but adaptability has been a strength of ours, especially when we've played away from home," he said.

"We need to adapt quickly, according to what is in front of us. Pitches, conditions, pace of the wicket and so on, but this looks like the right template moving forward.

"It’s going to be an exciting series to watch and be part of – England-India is always a blockbuster. Expect a lot of exciting cricket ahead."

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