Launching a stinging assessment on Jake Ball’s performance in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has said the fast-bowler is simply not up to the standard before stating that leg-spinner Mason Crane should replace him in the playing eleven.
Pietersen, who is currently plying his trade as a commentator in the ongoing series, was utterly unimpressed by Ball’s performance and said he would ‘not’ play the bowler in the forthcoming second Test in Adelaide. The right-arm pacer had started the proceedings well with the ball, dismissing David Warner cheaply in the first innings but could not take anymore wicket in the remainder of the game as Australia cruised to a 10-wicket win.
“I wouldn’t play Ball in the next Test match, absolutely not. Absolutely no chance,” Pietersen told BT Sport. “Is Jake Ball any good? I don’t think so. Not at this level. Not in Australia, from what I’ve just seen,” he added.
Pietersen further said he would like uncapped Mason Crane make it to the playing eleven in the historic day-night Test. The batting legend also said that with Moeen Ali having an issue with his finger, playing a frontline spinner rather than relying on part-timer Joe Root would be better.
“Mason Crane I’d play. I know it’s under lights but it gives that variation of a legspin bowler. One spinning away, one spinning in. Moeen Ali, we’ve got an issue with his finger. Do you want Joe Root bowling all the overs? No,” he said.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that Crane is well aware of the Australian conditions. He had played a game for New South Wales in 2016-17 after playing in Sydney Cricket Ground and is being mentored by former Australia leg-spinner Stuart MacGill.
Earlier this month, England head coach Trevor Bayliss had also said that he ‘wouldn’t have any problems at all playing Crane in the Test.’
“I wouldn’t have any problems at all playing Crane in the Test,” Bayliss had said. “He’s young, but he’s feisty and likes to get into the contest.
“He’s inexperienced and still has a fair bit to learn. He’s got to start somewhere and if it’s here during the Ashes then so be it,” he had added.
Meanwhile, England would be desperate to bounce back after the mauling they received in Brisbane. England were well on top after the first two days but capitulated after that and eventually suffered a humiliating 10-wicket defeat.
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