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Everybody’s talking

Updated on: 21 February,2024 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai

As the scales of the five-Test series against England tilt in India’s favour 2-1, opinions pour in from all over the world about what’s in store for the remainder of this exciting contest

Everybody’s talking

India players celebrate the run out of England captain Ben Stokes (second from right) during the second Test in Visakhapatnam recently. Pic/Getty Images

‘It’s a good sign that Stokes wants to bowl, we’ll see how it goes’ 

Brendon McCullumBrendon McCullum

Back-to-back heavy defeats against India have compelled England captain Ben Stokes to consider an early return to bowling with head coach Brendon McCullum admitting that although it’s a good sign, they don’t want the all-rounder to push himself unnecessarily.

Stokes, who is still recovering from a knee surgery, hasn’t bowled since the second Ashes Test in June last year. “Well, it’s good that he’s actually getting into a state where he thinks he might bowl,” McCullum was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on Monday.

“But Ben is clever; he’s really clever as well. He won’t bowl unless he thinks he’s legitimately able to bowl. The problem would be if he starts getting into a spell and then he can’t get out of the spell. So we’ll see what unfolds. If he does get that bit between his teeth, then let’s see where the danger lies there and try and pull him away from it. But it’s a good sign,” McCullum added.

Ahead of the Rajkot Test, Stokes had said he “pinky promised” his physiotherapist he won’t be bowling in the ongoing series. But when asked if he will be reprising his all-rounder’s role on Sunday, Stokes said, “I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no.”

‘Root has a bloody fine record, he should just play normally’ 

 Ian Chappell Ian Chappell 

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has urged out-of-form England batter Joe Root to shun the Bazball approach and get back to playing his natural game.

Senior batter Root has struggled for runs in the ongoing five-match series against India, registering a set of low scores across six innings.

Keeping up with England’s aggressive Bazball approach, Root has mostly lost his wicket playing outlandish shots in India.

Also Read: Young guns and glory

“Root had a bloody fine record playing normally, and he was a quick scorer playing normally,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports, describing Bazball as “bullshit”.

“I don’t see why he’s trying to change things drastically, and I’ve never believed you should play premeditated shots,” he added. 

Root, who has over 11,000 Test runs, copped a lot of criticism for his dismissal in England’s first innings in the third Test. Chappell argued that while a top-order batter must look to score aggressively, the players must adjust according to the match situation. “You can’t always do it—it’s got to be according to the conditions and also who’s bowling,” he said.

‘You have to be a guru with a still mindset to survive in India’

Matthew HaydenMatthew Hayden

Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden has lauded host India’s indomitable spirit and formidable home record and sees Rohit Sharma & Co as the favourites to clinch the five-match Test series against England.

“I think it’s India all the way. I was looking at the result this morning and thought that India, as a touring side, is a challenge for this reason. It’s a battle of energy and conservation of that resource, which is very limited,” Hayden told Star Sports.

Hayden also highlighted the mental challenges faced by visiting teams in India, where the energy of the crowd and the intense pressure can be overwhelming.  

“The game, the spectators and the country just keeps coming at you. There’s this great energy in India, especially in winning against England, and you can put Australia on that list as well. You have to be a guru and have to have a mindset of stillness just to be able to survive there. 

“You have already seen England this series get in front of games, but not be able to sustain it. And it is because of the relentless nature of having to turn up every moment, every ball, every session,” Hayden said.

‘Jaiswal hasn’t learnt from us, in fact I’d like to learn from him’

Nasser HussainNasser Hussain

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has hit out at Ben Duckett for his remark, suggesting that India’s young batting sensation Yashasvi Jaiswal’s aggressive approach in the Rajkot Test was influenced by England’s Bazball strategy.

Jaiswal’s scintillating unbeaten double century propelled India to a resounding 434-run victory over England in the third Test.

Speaking at the end of Day Three of the Rajkot Test, Duckett praised Jaiswal for his century, but also said, “when you see players from the opposition playing like that, it almost feels like we [England] should take some credit that they’re playing differently than how other people play Test cricket.”

Reacting strongly to Duckett’s remark, Hussain said: “The comment on Jaiswal that he has learned from us, I am going to touch on that... He has not learned from you, he has learned from his upbringing and all the hard yards he has put in while growing up, he has learned from the IPL. If anything, I would look at him and learn from him,” Hussain said during a discussion with former England cricketer Michael Atherton on Sky Sports.

‘Toiling against India can wear you down at the end of a series’

Graeme SmithGraeme Smith

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has cautioned England regarding their prospects in the ongoing Test series against India, saying that if the hosts “get their noses ahead then they are tough to catch.”

“There’s always been a lot of talent, but they seem to have taken away the fear, provided a lot of security for people and look at the game in a really positive way. England are certainly sticking true to the way that they want to play in India by applying pressure on the opposition and making them think,” Smith, now Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket, was quoted by Wisden.

The former Proteas batter advised England to stay mentally fresh. “It’s a very long tour and toiling against India like you have to, with long days in the field combined with the heat, can wear you down towards the back end of a series. Staying mentally fresh, positive, and within your game plan is important. England have done that well so far and need to hang tough for as long as possible, because if India get their noses ahead then they’ll be very difficult to chase down,” he said.

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