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Dom Bess

Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images
Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images
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Saqib Mahmood Called Up As An Injury Cover For Lord’s Test

Saqib Mahmood has been called up as cover ahead of England’s second Test against India at Lord’s starting on Thursday 12th August and could be in line for a surprise debut with James Anderson joining Stuart Broad as the England pacers are currently nursing injuries.

James Anderson missed England’s training session at Lord’s on Wednesday morning, and as per reports, he is suffering from a tight quad. While the decision for him to miss training was precautionary, it could leave England without both of their senior seamers heading into the second Test.
James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Saqib Mahmood And Moeen Ali were Recalled In England’s Test Squad For The 2nd Test

Stuart Broad, 35, is awaiting the results of a scan after appearing to slip while undertaking a light warm-up jog during training. He looks certain to miss what would have been his 150th Test after he was unable to put weight on his left foot, and if the injury proves to be a serious one – a calf or Achilles tear – it could yet rule him out of the remainder of the five-Test series.
If both pacers are ruled out, it would be only the second home Test to feature neither James Anderson nor Stuart Broad since 2007.
The injury comes after a fallow first Test for Stuart Broad, who went wicketless in India’s first innings before finding a better rhythm the second time around, claiming KL Rahul’s wicket on the fourth evening before rain washed out an intriguing final day. He currently has 524 wickets at 27.84 in his 149 Tests to date, placing him sixth on the all-time Test wicket-takers list.
England's Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
England’s Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
Saqib Mahmood, who impressed for England’s white-ball squad in the recent series against Pakistan, will link up with the squad at Lord’s on Wednesday. Moeen Ali is expected to return to the side to provide England with a spin option, while Mark Wood – unused in the first Test – is likely to join Ollie Robinson among the frontline seamers, with Sam Curran potentially retained in a more conventional allrounder’s role.
That would leave Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton, the Somerset allrounder, as fast-bowling cover, with one of the two replacing James Anderson in the event he is ruled out.

Saqib Mahmood Claimed 9 Scalps In Pakistan ODIs And 4 Scalps In The T20Is

Chris Woakes (bruised heel) and Ben Stokes (personal reasons) are also unavailable for the second Test, leaving England facing the prospect of fielding a second-choice seam attack.
Jofra Archer is now ruled out until after this winter’s Ashes and Olly Stone confirming that he is unlikely to return to bowling for six months after his latest stress fracture, Saqib Mahmood now seems increasingly likely to make his Test debut at some stage this summer, with a view to testing his readiness for a role in Australia.
Saqib Mahmood claimed nine wickets at 13.66 in England’s 3-0 series win in the ODIs against Pakistan in July, after being called up as part of an emergency squad following a Covid outbreak in England’s original party, and retained his place for the subsequent T20I series, where he picked up a further four wickets at 28.00.
Saqib Mahmood is back at Lord's with the England squad after being called up as cover PA Photos/Getty Images
Saqib Mahmood is back at Lord’s with the England squad after being called up as cover PA Photos/Getty Images
Saqib Mahmood has since been one of the star bowlers in the first season of the Hundred, with five wickets at 22.40 for Oval Invincibles, though now looks set to miss their final two group games as they push for a playoff berth. England has also announced that their off-spinner Dom Bess will return to Yorkshire to compete in the Royal London Cup, after being released from the Test squad following Moeen Ali’s inclusion.
For England, Haseeb Hameed and Moeen Ali are in line to enter the playing XI against India. While Haseeb Hameed could replace Zak Crawley who averages just over 11 in tests, Dan Lawrence or Dominic Sibley could miss the spot for Moeen Ali who could bat in the top 3.
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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There Isn’t A Good English Left-arm Spin Bowler Who Bats Like Ravindra Jadeja, Says Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen, former England cricketer, and commentator has urged budding English cricketers to learn from Ravindra Jadeja to have a long Test career not mentioning sporting icons like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team has been blessed with immense talent all across the playing positions available. While the likes of Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have set the benchmarks in their respective roles, a number of other players like Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rohit Sharma are in the ‘superstars’ category.
Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

Kevin Pietersen: England Don’t Have A Quality Left Arm Spinner Who Can Bat Unlike India’s Ravindra Jadeja

Many former cricketers feel that the depth of India’s talent is unparalleled when compared to any other team in the world as India is set to field a limited-overs team in Sri Lanka at the same time when a Test specialist team is in England competing in the WTC Final and 5 England Tests.

Kevin Pietersen, who has been a huge admirer of Indian cricket over the years, has urged budding English cricketers to follow one particular Indian player namely Ravindra Jadeja. England hasn’t produced quality spin bowlers of late, especially left-arm spinners. Kevin Pietersen, who has praised Ravindra Jadeja on a number of occasions for his all-around skills, feels the England cricket team needs a player like the Indian southpaw.

“It frustrates me that there still isn’t an international-standard English left-arm spin bowler who bats. Look at what Ravindra Jadeja has done for India in Test match cricket, one-day cricket, and T20 cricket,” Kevin Pietersen wrote in his blog for Betway Insider.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA

Lending advice to aspiring cricketers, the former England skipper asked those learning the trade to copy Ravindra Jadeja as there are high chances that they would go on to have a prolonged Test career in England team.

“It’s the one position that the ECB must be prioritizing. They need to invest in somebody because someone of that ilk is priceless across all three formats,” the former England captain added.

“If you’re a kid, an emerging player, or a county cricketer, copy Jadeja. Copy what Jadeja does because he’s an absolute superstar. You’ll have a long career as a Test match cricketer for England.

There were doubts over Ravindra Jadeja’s form at the start of IPL 2021, considering he was out of competitive action for more than 2 months after suffering a finger injury during the Australia tour. The all-rounder has been in fine form for CSK in IPL 2021. The India all-rounder has hit 131 runs in 7 matches, averaging a staggering 131 and striking at close to 160.

With the ball, he has picked up 6 wickets and has conceded at less than 7 runs per over before IPL was suspended. Ravindra Jadeja, 32, is one of the best fielders in the world at present and, along with his left-arm spin, besides batting, provides flexibility to the Indian team. He has so far played 51 Tests, 168 ODIs, and 50 T20 Internationals.

Kevin Pietersen: Jack Leach And Dom Bess Are Not Test Match Spinners

England had arrived in India with Jack Leach and Dom Bess as the specialist spinners during the recent Test series. Neither, however, managed to leave the sort of impact that their Indian counterparts did. Kevin Pietersen, quite explicitly, wrote in his column that he doesn’t feel the duo deserve to be called Test match spinners.

“Leach is not a Test match spinner and Bess is not a Test match spinner. I wrote nearly two years ago that I hope Leach doesn’t get remembered for Specsavers adverts because it’s about winning Test matches,” Pietersen pointed out.

Jack Leach and Dom Bess
Jack Leach and Dom Bess Getty Images

“Unfortunately, I was right, because he’s not good enough. He hasn’t bowled any teams out, he hasn’t bowled England to glory in Tests like Panesar and Swann used to do.”

In the ongoing first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s, the hosts didn’t field a single specialist spinner. Skipper Joe Root himself bowled 12 overs of off-spin in the first innings.

Axar Patel
Axar Patel
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Breaking Into Test Squad Was Difficult Because Of Ravindra Jadeja’s Performances: Axar Patel

Axar Patel, who made his debut in the longest format during the England tour this year, has said that breaking into the Test squad was not easy as Ravindra Jadeja was giving top performances for the team.

Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1. England managed to win only the first Test match which Axar Patel missed due to a knee injury.

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

Axar Patel: It Was Very Hard For Any Other Left Arm Spin All-rounder To Find A Place In Test For Ravindra Jadeja’s Performance

Ravindra Jadeja, India’s first-choice all-rounder in red-ball cricket, was out of the home series due to a thumb injury which he incurred during the Australia tour and his absence became a blessing in disguise for Axar Patel, the second most famous left-arm spin bowling all-rounder from the state of Gujarat.

Axar Patel has now admitted that the problem was not with his skill sets but Ravindra Jadeja’s on-field brilliance had made an entry of any left-arm spinner in the squad “very difficult”. The presence of an equally brilliant Ravichandran Ashwin made the path difficult for him further.

“I don’t feel I was lacking anything. Unfortunately, I was injured and lost my place in the ODIs. In Tests, [Ravindra] Jadeja and [Ravichandran] Ashwin were doing well. The way Jadeja was performing, it was very hard for any other left-arm spin all-rounder to find a place. The wrist spinners Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were doing well. It was due to the team combination that I was out. When I got a chance, I just tried to prove myself,” Axar told The Indian Express.

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP

The 27-year-old spinner, making his debut in the 2nd Test in Chennai, became the 9th Indian player to take a five-wicket haul on Test debut and only the second left-arm spinner after Dilip Doshi to take a fiver in his debut Test.

The left-arm spinner joined Dilip Doshi’s company once again with his fourth five-wicket haul that completed 27 wickets since his debut. With the wicket of Dom Bess, on the third day of the fourth Test, Axar Patel bagged his 27th Test dismissal hence equalling the record of most Test wickets on debut for India.

With his fourth five-wicket haul, in only three Test matches in his careers far, Axar Patel became the Indian with the most number of five-fors in their debut Test series. Axar Patel has as many five-wicket hauls as Australia’s Terry Alderman (1981) and Arthur Mailey (1920/21) and one less than Australia’s Rodney Hogg (1978/79).

Axar Patel: Rishabh Pant Is Closest Friend For Cracking Jokes In Dull Atmosphere

Further, on being asked about the wicketkeeping skills of his Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel said that his tuning with the 23-year-old is “great”. Calling Rishabh Pant one of his “closest friends”, Axar Patel added that the upbeat youngster also takes up the additional responsibility of cracking jokes to help his teammates go through the dull phase of a Test match.

“I have a great tuning with him, we are part of the same team in the IPL. He is one of my closest friends. He maintains that lively atmosphere in the team. He will crack jokes, even from behind the wicket. Sometimes in a five-day game, if there is a partnership, it’s very tough to kill that time. It’s his role that if he feels that the atmosphere is getting dull, he will crack some jokes, he will pass on comments. It suits him,” Axar said during the same interview.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

Axar Patel has been selected in Team India’s squad for the World Test Championship final and the five-match series against England. Axar Patel picked 6 scalps in 4 games in IPL 2021 before the league was postponed indefinitely. He had 86 scalps in 101 IPL games averaging 29.86 besides scoring 913 runs.

Under Rishabh Pant’s captaincy, Delhi Capitals has won 6 out of their first 8 matches and was table toppers with 12 points before the postponement of IPL 2021. Notably, Rishabh Pant is leading an IPL franchise for the first time in his career. He was appointed as the skipper of Delhi Capitals after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of IPL 2021 with a shoulder injury.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
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Rishabh Pant Hit Three Match Changing Innings Which Some Can’t Do In Career With Ease: Ian Chappell

Rishabh Pant “changed the course” of three Test matches with his fearless batting approach, something which most players aren’t able to achieve in their entire career.

Rishabh Pant’s 97 nearly turned the Sydney Test in India’s favour which India managed to draw while his 89 not out at Brisbane won them the series Down Under. Then he hit a hundred under pressure against England in Ahmedabad to clinch India’s spot in the World Test Championship final.

Rishabh Pant, ICC
Rishabh Pant [Image-BCCI]

Rishabh Pant Produced 3 Innings Changing Match Course Which Most Can’t Do In Career: Ian Chappell

Former Australia captain, Ian Chappell heaped rich praise on Rishabh Pant for his ‘mature counterattacking’ knocks he played in Sydney, Brisbane, and in Ahmedabad, with India winning the last two out of those. The left-hander not only avoided a loss but put the opposition on the backfoot. In a space of a few Tests, he has not only cemented himself in the Test side but has also made a comeback in the limited-overs team.

“Pant has produced three innings that changed the course of a Test with mature counter-attacking when the team was in trouble. Most players don’t contribute that many in a career,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPN Cricinfo.

Dom Bess Image Credit: PTI
Dom Bess Image Credit: PTI

Ian Chappell also wrote that Rishabh Pant, once criticized for his not-so-great glovework, was commendable during the four-Test matches.

“Not content with just batting heroics, Pant has also evolved as a keeper when standing up to the spinners, going from fumbling to fabulous in the space of a few weeks,” he wrote.

Ian Chappell feels the difference between the two sides was Rishabh Pant’s daredevilry which had the Indian team management’s mandate, something that young English players like Dom Bess and Ollie Pope didn’t have.

“Pant is a popular player in the Indian side and his spirit epitomizes the team’s confident, attacking approach to the game. England has players who could provide a similar stimulus to their team. What they lack is a conducive environment.”

Rishabh Pant, who has put together a string of impressive performances for India since the Test series against Australia, scoring four fifties and one century in the last seven Tests, played the first T20I at Ahmedabad on Friday, 12th March where he scored 21 off 23 balls including 2 fours and a six.

“The two young Englishmen became more tentative as the series progressed. Pope was keen to use his feet, but as his back foot continually craved the safety of the crease, it was obvious he was worried about being left stranded by the spinners.”

“Bess appeared to be deflated by his omission from the Test team. With his confidence severely diminished, he bowled in the final Test, hoping that the ball would land on a good length rather than being confident of its destination,” the cut-throat Australian was severe in his criticism of team management’s philosophies.

The youngster Rishabh Pant has been working a lot on his keeping skills especially on the Indian wickets and that has reflected in second India vs England Test match. On the Day 4 morning, he displayed some excellent glovework to inflict the stumping of England batsman Daniel Lawrence off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling. In the first innings, he took a couple of brilliant one-handed catches to dismiss Ollie Pope and Jack Leach.

Ian Chappell Liked Rishabh Pant’s Approach

What Ian Chappell liked about Rishabh Pant was how took risks but also blended them with aggression.

“Meanwhile, Pant was scared of… well, nothing actually. The chirpy Indian keeper, armed with a supremely confident disposition, played each innings balancing aggression with appropriate caution. His approach of “see the ball and hit it” is a simple one but it’s fortified by the common-sense approach of always looking for opportunities to score.”

The difference between the two sides was whereas Indian batsmen tried to find ways to score, Englishmen were content by merely surviving.

“In most cases this sums up the difference between India and England’s batting. The home side was constantly thinking about ways to score, while the visitors were preoccupied with survival,” he added.

Ian Chappell is a former Australia captain. (File)
Ian Chappell is a former Australia captain. (File)

The 77-year-old also credits the leadership group comprising the coach, captain, and vice-captain for creating a positive environment for the youngster, who not long ago struggled with form and fitness.

Dom Bess dominated the bowling for England against India Image Credit: PTI
Dom Bess dominated the bowling for England against India Image Credit: PTI
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David Lloyd Feels For Dom Bess And Reckons England Shouldn’t Have Picked Him

David Lloyd has questioned the England team management over picking spinner Dom Bess for the fourth Test against India. The former cricketer-turned-commentator opined that skipper Joe Root is a better bowler than the off-spinner at the moment.

Dom Bess went wicketless in India’s 1st innings in the fourth Test, conceding 71 runs in 17 overs at an economy rate of 4.2- the highest amongst the English bowlers. Part-time bowler Joe Root, on the other hand, gave away 56 runs in his 18 overs. The England captain also picked up a five-for in the 3rd pink-ball Test.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

David Lloyd: England Should Not Have Picked Dom Bess

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, David Lloyd said Dom Bess looked extremely nervous with the ball in hand in the 4th Test. In the 1st Test though he picked wickets of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant in the 1st innings, and Washington Sundar in the 2nd innings.

“I feel for Dom Bess. He’s got the yips and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not nice. You’re in a state of confusion and forget how to let the ball go. The only good thing is that it goes as quickly as it comes, but England should not have picked Bess. What made them think he had solved his problem of bowling full tosses? Joe Root is a better bowler than Bess at the moment,” David Lloyd wrote.

Dominic Bess of England
Dominic Bess of England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Dom Bess played the first Test in Chennai against India, with the off-spinner returning with figures of 5-126 for the match. However, he couldn’t stop the flow of runs and was dropped for the next 2 Tests.

Dom Bess Will Be Better With These Experiences Going Forward: Jeetan Patel

England’s spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel acknowledged that Dom Bess didn’t have the best of outings on Day 2 of the fourth Test. Speaking after the day’s play, Jeetan Patel explained that the 23-year-old is still on a learning curve.

“There’s still room for him to improve, like everyone in this group, he’s very young and he’s still learning how to bowl with a red ball at Test level, which is very difficult. He will be better with these experiences going forward,” Patel said in a virtual press conference.

Jeetan Patel
Jeetan Patel. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

England will be looking to wrap up the Indian innings as soon as possible on Day 3. India scored 365 in their first innings taking a lead of 160 runs over England who scored 205. Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar were the leading run-scorers in India’s 1st innings scoring 101 and 96 not out respectively. Ben Stokes picked 4 scalps while James Anderson accounted for 3 wickets. Jack Leach picked 2 wickets and Dom Bess and Joe Root went wicketless.

Dom Bess dominated the bowling for England against India Image Credit: PTI
Dom Bess dominated the bowling for England against India Image Credit: PTI
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Joe Root Hints At The Inclusion Of Dom Bess In The Ahmedabad Test

Joe Root, England’s skipper has hinted at the inclusion of spinner Dom Bess for the 4th Test against India and said that the youngster is “definitely” a more talented bowler than him.

Joe Root created a world record with the ball after registering the best bowling figures by a spinner in Test cricket in the 3rd match against India. His 5 for 8 broke the previous record (5 for 9) held jointly by Australians Tim May and Michael Clarke against West Indies (Adelaide Test 1992/93) and India (Mumbai Test 2004/05) respectively.

Joe Root celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant with his first ball (Pic: BCCI)
Joe Root celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant with his first ball (Pic: BCCI)

Joe Root: Dom Bess Is Certainly In Contention For Selection And He Is A Very Skillful Young Bowler

The England captain had to bowl because there was only one specialist spinner in the team and the wicket had nothing in store for the three pacers playing alongside him.

Ahead of the 4th Test which starts from Thursday, Joe Root has hinted at Dom Bess’s inclusion in the playing XI. The young spinner has been made to sit on the bench for the last two games. Joe Root has reckoned that there was no comparison between the bowling skills of Dom Bess and him.

“If the pitch looks anything like the last one I think Dom will be licking his lips at the opportunity. He is certainly in contention for selection and he is a very skillful young bowler who will be desperate to make his mark if he gets the chance.”

Dom Bess
Dom Bess (AP Photo)

“Dom will see how someone like me had an impact and will be very excited if conditions are the same, There is no comparison between him and me. He is a far more talented bowler and will definitely be above me in the pecking order if he’s in the side,” Root said.

England’s spinner Moeen Ali was sent home despite picking 8 scalps in the only Test as part of England’s rotation policy while spinner Dom Bess wasn’t picked in the last 2 Tests despite modest bowling performance as he picked up 5 scalps in 34 overs in the 1st Test.

Joe Root reckons Dom Bess will return to the side unequivocally if the pitch is like the third Test, which assisted the spinners of both teams so much that the skipper himself had to bowl ahead of the seamers and eventually bagged a five-wicket haul as well.

Despite picking 4 wickets – including those of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli –  in the first innings of the first Test at Chennai, Dom Bess was dropped as Moeen Ali came into the line-up. Now with Moeen Ali back to England for rest, Joe Root is confident that Dom Bess will do well when provided with an opportunity.

Joe Root: Team Selection For The 3rd Test Was Wrong As England Didn’t Expect The Surface To Assist Spin That Much

The 30-year-old admitted that the idea of playing 3 pacers in the pink-ball Test and including only one frontline spinner was wrong. Joe Root revealed that the team selection was done on the basis of the last pink-ball Test in India. Notably, in the Day-Night Test between India and Bangladesh in 2019, Indian pacers had scalped all the 19 wickets in the match.

“We got that wrong,’ admitted Root. ‘We read the pitch wrong in terms of the team we selected. We looked at conditions and how the ball behaved in the last pink-ball Test in India. We didn’t expect it to spin so much.”

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

England spinner Jack Leach picked 16 scalps overall in 3 Tests averaging 26.75. But Indian spinners were far better. 3rd Test’s Man of Match Axar Patel took 11 wickets in both the innings combined as he is on a dream run taking 18 wickets in his first two Tests averaging a meagre 9.44.

Ravichandran Ashwin, though, is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests. The Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Washington Sundar combined to pick 19 England wickets in the 3rd Test at Ahmedabad.

Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni
Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni.Image Credits: Getty Images
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MS Dhoni Went Ballistic As The Last Resort, For Rishabh Pant, It Is The First Course Of Action: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain feels former keeper MS Dhoni goes on an offensive mode as a last resort while current skipper Rishabh Pant’s first instinct is being aggressive but with some sensible decision-making.

In awe of Indian batsman Rishabh Pant’s heavy-duty batting off late, the recent of which was an 88-ball 91 against England in Chennai during the first Test on Sunday, Nasser Hussain heaped praises on the batsman in his recent column for the popular British tabloid Daily Mail.

Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain (Credits: Twitter)

Nasser Hussain: MS Dhoni Went Ballistic As The Last Resort While Rishabh Pant Does It First

Rishabh Pant’s recent performances have earned him a comparison with Indian wicket-keeping legend MS Dhoni, but cricketer turned commentator Nasser Hussain explained the difference between the two. Rishabh Pant scored 92 twice in his last home series against West Indies and his last three innings scores are 97,89* and 91.

“Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of his predecessors as India’s wicket-keeper, was a very smart cricketer and that is what he would have done,” he wrote.
Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Dhoni was a different style of a cricketer in that he played the situation, whereas Pant plays a lot more by the seat of his pants — if you excuse the expression. Dhoni went ballistic as the last resort. For Pant, it is the first course of action.”

Rishabh Pant displayed a familiar aggressive brand of cricket to score his half-century in merely 40 deliveries on Day 3 of the ongoing 1st Chennai Test against England. His 88-ball 91 innings added the much-needed semblance to Indian innings after a top-order collapse as the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli failed with the bat to reduce India to 73/4 in 1st innings.

Nasser Hussain: Rishabh Pant Is An Incredible Game-Changing Talent

Rishabh Pant, who is known for his aggressive style of batting, smashed four sixes off Jack Leach en-route his fifty. However, while Rishabh Pant occasionally went for the big hits, he was also equally wary of the deliveries pitching onto the good length and took calculated risks on his way to a fifth half-century.

“Rishabh Pant is an incredible, game-changing talent. Arguably a series-changing talent,” the 52-year-old retired English player wrote. 

“If he hadn’t batted in his no-fear style, if he lacked any self-belief, then India would not have won that match in Brisbane last month that completed their greatest ever series victory.”

Jack Leach and Dom Bess
Jack Leach and Dom Bess (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

“Yesterday, it made for much more exciting viewing to have Pant playing that kind of innings. But don’t confuse him for somebody who simply has a slog. Until his dismissal, he had left deliveries from Dom Bess outside the off stump expertly and very rarely used his feet against him.”

India managed 337 in 1st innings with useful fifty-plus contributions from Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, and Washington Sundar. For England, Dom Bess picked 4 crucial wickets besides being economical, unlike Jack Leach who was expensive but picked 2 wickets. England was bundled for 178 in 2nd innings to set India’s target of 420. India is 39/1 losing Rohit Sharma early.

Virat kohli, Marcus Stoinis, India vs Australia 2019
Virat Kohli has set an example as a skipper. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Virat Kohli Will Get 1-2 Hundreds Throughout Series: Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan, former England skipper has rubbished the idea that Virat Kohli may be out of form or that he will go without a century for too long.

Virat Kohli, the India captain last scored a Test century in November of 2019 and his last ODI ton came in August of the same year. Although there was limited cricket in 2020, he did not hit a single hundred in the year, the first time that’s happened to him in 12 years.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan. Credits: Getty Images.

Michael Vaughan Not Concerned About Virat Kohli Not Scoring A Ton But Criticized The Manner Of His Dismissal

However, Michael Vaughan has backed Virat Kohli to end his wait for a century in the ongoing England Test series.

Michael Vaughan however touched upon the manner of Virat Kohli’s dismissal on Day 3 of the first Test against England in Chennai. The star batsman was out bat-pad for 11 off 48 balls to off-spinner Dom Bess and that is not the kind of dismissal one would associate with a batsman as fine as Virat Kohli, the former England captain reckoned.

Dom Bess
Dom Bess. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“The manner of his dismissal today was weak for Virat Kohli. He defended the ball outside the off-stump with an angled bat facing towards wide extra cover. There is nothing in that shot. You play with an angled bat, and if there’s bounce, it goes to short leg. So technically, it wasn’t a great dismissal for Virat Kohli,” Vaughan added.

Virat Kohli failed miserably in New Zealand series in 2020 where he totaled only 38 runs averaging 9.5 in 2 Tests. He also failed to do much in the 1st Test at Australia amassing 78 runs which he played before taking paternity leave meaning he missed 3 Tests. India registered their lowest ever Test score of 36 and he scored 4 in 2nd innings after scoring 74 in first innings.

Michael Vaughan: Virat Kohli’s A Better Player When He Shows Intent By Batting Aggressively

Michael Vaughan felt that the India captain should have shown more authority. Virat Kohli last played a Test for India in Adelaide in December and it was almost as if he was playing himself in.

Michael Vaughan felt it was the wrong approach and things would have worked better for him if Virat Kohli had shown intent from the beginning and not allowed Dominic Bess to settle.

“I thought he was just trying to play today. I know that sounds simple. I think Virat’s a better player when he comes out trying to be aggressive. When his feet are moving and he’s looking to dance down to the spinners to put them under pressure,” Vaughan said.

Virat Kohli.
Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Twitter.
Virat Kohli last scored a Test hundred-136 against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens which was a day-night affair. The match was way back in November 2019. He has 27 Test tons and 2020 was the second year where he didn’t score a Test ton apart from his Test debut in 2011.
He played 9 ODIs in 2020 but he failed to score a ton despite amassing 431 runs averaging 47.89. His highest Test score of unbeaten 254 came against South Africa in October 2019 where he totaled 317 runs averaging 158.5 in the 3 Test series.
Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter
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Rishabh Pant Is An Exhilarating Player: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar said he enjoyed Rishabh Pant’s counter-attacking display against left-arm spinner Jack Leach on Day 3 of the series opener at Chepauk in Chennai.

Sunil Gavaskar seems to have enjoyed a little period of play in the second session of Day 3 in the first Test between India and England where Rishabh Pant came up with a counter-attacking fifty.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Sunil Gavaskar: It Was Fantastic To Watch Rishabh Pant Take On Jack Leach

The former legendary batsman lauded keeper Rishabh Pant for trying to put left-arm spinner, Jack Leach, off-rhythm by going after him. India were in a spot of bother when they had lost captain Virat Kohli (6) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (1) in quick succession as off-spinner Dom Bess wreaked havoc, leaving the hosts at 73 for 4 in reply to England’s massive first innings total of 578.

Both Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara got to their fifties before the Tea break as India managed to avoid any further hiccups before the break. Speaking during the break on Star Sports, Sunil Gavaskar said Rishabh Pant will become a lot more consistent if he understands the “thin line” between “being carefree and careless”.

“He (Pant) has always been an exhilarating player. He can be annoying in the sense we all want to see him carry on and bat because he gives so much enjoyment with the way he plays. What happens with Rishabh Pant is there is always that very thin line between being carefree and careless. Once he realizes what is that little line between being carefree and careless, he will be a lot more consistent,” Gavaskar said.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“It was fantastic to watch him take on Jack Leach because he didn’t want to settle down. It’s a partnership, he recognises he can be dangerous to the right hander. He is trying to throw him off by affecting his confidence.”

However, Rishabh Pant came up with a fearless, counter-attacking display, hitting spinner Jack Leach for as many as 4 sixes. He hit the left-arm spinner into the long-on and mid-wicket stands at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Jack Leach had a rough patch outside the left-handers off-stump to make use of but every time he landed there, Rishabh Pant was able to dance down the track and attack the spinner.  He got to his fifty in just 41 balls as spinner Jack Leach had conceded 59 runs in his first spell of 6 overs.

Sunil Gavaskar: India Need A Hundred From Rishabh Pant And Cheteshwar Pujara (But They Were Dismissed After Scoring 91 And 73 Respectively)

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar said India needs big scores from both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant if they are to get anywhere close to England’s first-innings total. India’s top-order was rattled by the brilliant of Jofra Archer and Dom Bess who picked up 2 wickets each before Tea on Day 3.

“India needs a big, big score from a batsman. They need a hundred from Rishabh Pant, Pujara. They need some fifties from Washington Sundar and R Ashwin so that India will be feeling a lot better,” Gavaskar added.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: BCCI

Cheteshwar Pujara(73) and Rishabh Pant(91) were dismissed by Dom Bess. India are 257/6 at stumps on 3rd day with Washington Sundar unbeaten on 33 and Ravichandran Ashwin unbeaten on 8. India still trails by 321 runs.

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Graeme Swann Wants Jack Leach To Bowl Boring Line Against India In Four-Test Series

Graeme Swann, the architect of England’s famous series win in India in 2012, wants left-arm spinner Jack Leach to bowl a “boring” line and length to be successful in the four Tests against Virat Kohli‘s team.

Jack Leach and off-spinner Dom Bess face an enormous challenge having not bowled in India before.

Graeme Swann Wants Jack Leach To Bowl Boring Line Against India In Four-Test Series 1Graeme Swann: Jack Leach Should Be Deadly Boring To Operate In India

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach made the most of Moeen Ali’s absence in the Sri Lanka series, claiming a five-for alongside fellow spinner Dom Bess. Both Dom Bess and Jack Leach have made it to starting XI for 1st Test while Moeen Ali was left out.

“That’s the blueprint for Leach: run up, put it on the spot be metronomic, and be almost deadly boring in the way he operates in India,” Graeme Swann, who was the leading wicket taker in India’s last series defeat at home, was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.

Graeme Swann Wants Jack Leach To Bowl Boring Line Against India In Four-Test Series 2Jack Leach doesn’t bowl at the pace Monty Panesar bowled in 2012 but his consistency impresses Graeme Swann.

“India’s batsmen will respect a good ball, and he doesn’t bowl very many bad ones. Generally, Indian batsmen will play the long game. That’s brilliant for him because it gives him the chance to get into a rhythm and find his groove. He can definitely be consistent enough to hold down an end,” he said.

In his career spanning 12 Test matches since his debut in 2018, before stepping into the 1st Chennai Test, off-spinner 23-year-old Dom Bess had never played against India.

Graeme Smith: Dom Bess Isn’t As Consistent As He Might Be In Future But He’s A Wicket Taker

However, Graeme Swann doesn’t expect the same consistency from Dom Bess but sees him doing well for England in the long-term.

“The fact that Dom is still young and hasn’t bowled a great number of overs in his life means that he’s not as consistent as he might be in the future. It’s a tricky one, because Bess is a wicket-taker,” Graeme Swann stated.

“He didn’t bowl particularly well in Sri Lanka and I think he’d admit that, but he took 12 wickets and he does bowl wicket-taking balls,” he added.

One of England’s finest spinners, Graeme Swann sees Dom Bess developing into a world-class bowler.

“I saw Mo (Ali) say he’s hungry to play after 18 months away and if he’s fit and going well, I would prefer the shape he gets when he drifts it away and gets dip to Bess’ shape which drifts in, because he doesn’t finish his action off all the time.”

“I think it’s a mental thing and that he might not be believing in himself, but with good mentoring and support he’ll nail that. He’s going to be brilliant, and he’ll be brilliant for England over a 10-year period. It’s just about getting there.”

Graeme Swann also feels the obsession with Ashes is not helping England’s cause.

“In 2012, we went to India and we won. We had a bloody brilliant team but we won a series against a very fine side, and the next time we went, not a single lesson had been learned so we lost 4-0. I don’t think we’d taken it seriously because the focus is so much on going to Australia to win the Ashes.”

Graeme Swann Wants Jack Leach To Bowl Boring Line Against India In Four-Test Series 3“We’ve taken our eye off the ball. India are actually the best out team in the world these days, especially in India, so I hope this time that we can get back to competing over there. Taking 20 wickets on a regular basis will be a struggle: it’s an awesome seam attack and they’ve got it in them once or twice in the series, especially in the day-night match, but whether they can do it in all four games in yet to be seen,” Graeme Swann stated.

All-rounder Moeen Ali had made noteworthy contributions, even during England’s last India tour in 2016, where they suffered a 0-4 series drubbing. Averaging 42.33, the left-handed batsman notched up two centuries and a fifty, while scalping 10 wickets with his off-break bowling.

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