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England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter

England Is A 2 Man Team As They Are Overdependent On Joe Root And James Anderson: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar, the former India captain, and batting legend tore into Joe Root’s England after they suffered a 151-run humbling at Lord’s on Monday.

Sunil Gavaskar said the hosts are a “two-man team” who are over-dependent on Joe Root and seasoned pacer James Anderson. He criticized both the batting and bowling departments of England.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar: England Is A 2 Man Team As They Are Overdependent On Joe Root And James Anderson

He stated that the rest of the lineup has an all but ‘awful’ approach, starting with the technically ‘ludicrous’ openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, ‘tentative’ no.3 batsman Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed, and the inconsistent duo of Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler.

“England is a two-man team. It’s just Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson. With the greatest of respect to all who are playing there, it doesn’t look like a proper Test team… Their technique is awful. The technique of their opening batsmen is ludicrous, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

“Their no.3 batsman Haseeb Hameed is nervous and tentative. So, we look up to Joe Root. Jonny Bairstow, yes if he gets going or otherwise it’s nothing. Buttler, he is a fine white-ball player. I’m not too sure he is there for red-ball cricket,” said former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.

After Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami kicked an Indian defeat out of contention on Day 5, England had to survive just about two sessions on an innocuous pitch to draw the Test. However, they stumbled under pressure and were bowled out for just 120 with more than eight overs still remaining.

Openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley recorded ducks, Sam Curran, a king-pair, and the highest score was once again written beside Joe Root’s name – 33 of 60. Sunil Gavaskar slammed the hosts’ bowling department, while also predicting an outright win for India in the remaining three Tests.

“In bowling, there was just Jimmy Anderson and there was nobody else. Robinson got five wickets in Trent Bridge but it’s really a ‘two and a half men’ kind of a team. That’s why I think India will win the remaining three matches of the series. I had said at the beginning of the series that India should win it 4-0 or 3-1 and I still believe that result is possible if rain doesn’t spoilsport.”

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

The third of the five-Test series between England and India will start at Headingley in Leeds on August 25.

In the 1st innings, James Anderson claimed 5 for 62 in 29 overs as India crumbled from 276 for 3 to 364 all-out. The veteran pacer claimed his 31st five-for, making him the oldest bowler in 70 years to take a five-wicket haul in a Test match innings. In the 2nd innings, he went wicket-less.

Joe Root has amassed 1277 runs playing 10 Tests in 2021, averaging 57.21, and has hit 5 tons. He scored 228 and 186 against Sri Lanka and hit 218 in the 1st Test against and in India while scoring 109 an unbeaten 180 in the first two successive Tests when India toured England.

KL Rahul | Photo Credit: PTI
KL Rahul | Photo Credit: PTI

KL Rahul Backs Experienced Campaigners Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane To Find Lost Form

KL Rahul, Indian opener has backed struggling Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to find form soon, saying both the batsmen are world-class players and experienced enough to know what it takes to return among runs.

The experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane have not been at their best of late, averaging in the 20s this year. While Cheteshwar Pujara made 4, 12 not out, and 9 in the three innings in the England series so far, Ajinkya Rahane managed just 5 and 1 in the two innings he got to play.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

KL Rahul: Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Are Experienced Players And Playing In Tough Engish Conditions

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s form remains a cause of concern. With the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Suryakumar Yadav waiting in the wings, many believe that the second Test against England could serve as the final opportunity for the duo, both of whom have had a disappointing run in the whites for a long time.

“Pujara and Ajinkya have done the job for India many times we were in trouble. They are world-class and experienced players so they know how to come out of a couple of innings they haven’t scored runs,” KL Rahul said at the press conference.

“You have also to realize they are playing in tough conditions. In English conditions batting is always going to be challenging, you are going to get good balls. You can’t go out there and score runs in every innings, but if you get a start you make it count.”

KL Rahul. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
KL Rahul. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ajinkya Rahane only has one 50-plus score to his name in the last 15 Test innings. Cheteshwar Pujara, on the other hand, has only scored a maximum of 21 runs in a Test innings in his last 10 outings.

KL Rahul (129) scored his 5th Test century at the iconic Lord’s. But he admitted he was frustrated at missing out on a bigger hundred and taking the visitors to a bigger total. He could add only two runs to his Thursday score before walking back to the dressing room amid big applause.  Having played a fine knock, KL Rahul was dismissed shortly as he drove straight to the cover fielder in only the day’s second delivery, bowled by Ollie Robinson.

“I get frustrated when I am set and then get out. Obviously, this (Friday) morning was really crucial for us having put 270 onboard last night to go out there and get 70-80 runs in the first session which would have set things up really nicely. So that’s what I was looking to do,” Rahul said.

“I was feeling good and fresh, so wanted to go out there and being set batting at 127, I could have played with a lot of freedom. Really frustrated that I missed out on a juicy half volley. Just drove a half volley straight into covers hands. I was looking to build on my innings and get a bigger score.”

Back into the Test fold during the ongoing tour, KL Rahul has grabbed his opportunities with both hands. Having already established himself in the limited-overs formats, he said the key to success in a five-day game is discipline and patience.

“Challenges are there in every format and we as players know what are the challenges and what we need to do to deal with them. But sometimes you perform, sometimes not because when you go in the middle the pressure is slightly different. The situation of the game is slightly different,” he said.

“Yes, one-day cricket is different because after 2 or 3 overs the ball stops swinging, even in green top it will swing for 5-10 overs but it’s completely different in Test cricket. It’s all about being disciplined and waiting for the loose balls and just trying to be as patient as you can and keep discipline in shot selection.”

KL Rahul became only the 3rd Indian opener and the 10th overall from the country to hit a hundred at the iconic venue and find himself a spot on the Lord’s Honours board. KL Rahul remained unbeaten on 127 at Stump’s on Day 1 as India finished at a dominant position, having posted 276 for 3 in 90 overs.

KL Rahul: Every Test Hundred Is Extremely Special

KL Rahul said it was a special feeling to score a century at the hallowed Lord’s and witness his name on the honours board of the iconic ground.

“Every time you walk out to play for your country you want to score, give the team a good start. It was special once I stepped out of the ground and once you see your name in the honours board you feel a sense of achievement and sense of pride and I am no different. Every Test hundred is very very special for me and if it’s at Lord’s it becomes little sweeter.”
Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)
Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)

The stylish right-hander said with the Lord’s pitch not offering much assistance, Indian bowlers need to be disciplined and bowl according to plans to shoot out England quickly.

“It’s too early to predict. We are taking it as it comes. Obviously, we want to go out there and get a couple of wickets in the first hour and put pressure on the English batsmen. There is not a lot happening on the pitch. We need to be really disciplined with our line and length and just keep working on our plans. We obviously have plans for every batsman so just stick to those plans,” Rahul said. 

Jimmy Anderson picked five wickets to see off India for 364, and England, despite losing Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed early, fought back with Rory Burns (49) and Joe Root (48*) playing a pivotal part. Day three promises to be an exciting one as an action-packed weekend is in store for cricket fans. England still trails by 245 runs having scored 119/3 at stumps on the 2nd day. Mohammed Siraj picked the first 2 scalps while Mohammed Shami struck late.


Joe Root’s Contribution Biggest Positive For England In The 1st Test, Says Steve Harmison

Steve Harmison, the former England right-arm seamer has opened up on the national team’s performance in the first Test against India in Nottingham. Though the opening Test of the five-match series resulted in a draw, the home side had plenty of positives out of it. Steve Harmison believes that Joe Root’s fighting knocks in both innings were the biggest positive for England.

Joe Root top-scored in both the innings and held England’s innings together to keep their heads above water. The 30-year old scored 64 out of England’s 183 runs in the first innings, followed by a hundred under pressure in the second to leave 209 for India to chase.

Steve Harmison Highlights Joe Root And Bowling Performance As England's Biggest Positives From The First Test Against India
Steve Harmison. (Credits: Twitter)

Steve Harmison: England Needs To Fix Their Top Order As Top 3 Haven’t Fired

Steve Harmison feels England has a few things to fix, notably their top order ahead of the second Test as they have not fired. The 42-year old believes that Dom Sibley did a remarkable job of occupying the crease, but he feels that the opener needs a better strike rate. Steve Harmison also reminded about Ollie Pope’s potential to slot back in, remarking he would be fit at some point.

“There are a few things England need to fix. England have got more questions than India, going into Lord’s. They need to fix their top order as one, two, and three hasn’t fired. Sibley batted a long time and that’s his job, but the strike rate has got to be better.”

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

“But he occupied the crease and if he had not done that, England would have lost by the end of day four. So, they have got question marks. They have Ollie Pope to come back in. I think he has got to fit somewhere. Back to back Test matches, you going to go with a four-man seam attack, with question marks on Sam Curran, how much he has got,” Harmison told Cricinfo.

Apart from Joe Root’s contributions, the hosts’ bowling performance also punched above its weight, notably dismissing the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Rishabh Pant cheaply in the first innings. Joe Root, who had failed to reach half-century in his last five Tests, ended up scoring 64 in the first innings and then came up with a masterful 109 helping England put up a much-improved batting show in their 2nd innings.

Steve Harmison: Back To Back Tests With 3 Days Off Is A Big Ask For 35 And 39-Year-Old Experienced Pacers Stuart Broad And James Anderson

However, Steve Harmison underlined that back-to-back Test matches with a four-man seam attack, with two veterans is a big ask. Simultaneously, the Durham fast bowler named Joe Root coming amongst the runs as the biggest positive for the hosts and equally praised the bowling attack.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits : Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)

He conceded that bowling out a daunting Indian batting line-up within 90 overs and under 300 in the first innings bodes well moving forward. Thus, Steve Harmison thinks the balance of the attack could be considered, but Joe Root remains their biggest plus point.

“You have got a 35 and a 39-year old experienced bowlers at the armoury. But back to back Test matches with three days off is going to be a big ask. So, won’t be surprised if there is a bowling change. Root is a massive positive, huge positive, and the way England bowled, not a lot of bad balls, and you are well within your rights to say they don’t deserve to be dropped.”

“When you look at it, the calibre of the Indian batting line-up, bowling them out within 90 overs and under 300 runs in the first innings of a Test, that should bode quite well here. From that point of view, the balance of the England could be looked at, but the biggest plus point for England is Joe Root,” he added.

James Anderson’s four for 54 against India in the 1st innings took him third in the all-time list of Test wicket-takers with 621. James Anderson, already the leading seam bowler on the list, moved past India spinner Anil Kumble to leave only Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne ahead of him.

England may change their bowling combination in the 2nd Test as they have alternatives like pacers Craig Overton and Mark Wood and spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess in their squad. The batting line-up may also be changed with Haseeb Hameed replacing out of form Zak Crawley.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Absence In The 1st Test Was Felt: VVS Laxman

Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. The off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia in 2020/21.

He claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul. In the four-match home series against England 2021, he was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls. Ravindra Jadeja’s current batting form helped him get a spot in the playing XI ahead of his spin partner, the 34-year-old off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, as felt by many experts.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Absence In The 1st Test Was Felt As He Could Have Created More Chances On The Flat Wicket: VVS Laxman

India’s line-up for the first Test against England caused instant debate with the exclusion of India’s ace spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin.  While in hindsight it might seem like the decision worked out as planned for the visitors, the absence of a match-winner like Ravichandran Ashwin could be felt at certain stages.

With Joe Root in full flow en route his ton in the 2nd innings with some support from his compatriots, mainly in a solid stand with Dom Sibley, India looked a bit out of sorts and clueless in the middle overs.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman

With England’s troubles against spin bowling, India’s ace Ravichandran Ashwin could have provided vital timely breakthroughs on a day when the sun was beating down at Trent Bridge. On ESPN’s Cricinfo show Matchday Live, VVS Laxman was vocal about backing Ravichandran Ashwin’s skills against this England line-up, despite the weather conditions.

“Coming back to Ashwin’s selection, I just feel like going forward, even though there is forecast for rain, I would always back a match-winner like Ashwin to create an impression and to be inventive, provide some penetration and to be amongst wickets.

“What India require is four attacking, wicket-taking bowling options, and then Jadeja can be your fifth bowling option, who can restrict the flow of runs,” said Laxman.

“As the match progressed, we could see the wicket became flat and there was a little bit of turn for Jadeja. If Ashwin would have been there, he would have created more chances and it would have been a different story in the middle overs.”

Indian team suffered an 8 wicket defeat in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand last month. Ravichandran Ashwin, though, was the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 71 wickets from 14 Tests at 20.33. India’s Test series against England started at Trent Bridge on August 4, but he wasn’t in XI.

Ravichandran Ashwin Shines In A County Game For Surrey Against Somerset

While the Indian team was on a much-needed break in the UK before the series got underway, Ravichandran Ashwin got his preparations underway as he played a county game for Surrey.  In the match against Somerset on a dustbowl of a surface at The KIA Oval, Ravichandran Ashwin ran riot in the second innings to skittle Somerset out for a measly 69 and claimed figures of 6 for 27 in 15 overs.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

The fourth Test between India and England is scheduled to take place at the same venue and Ravichandran Ashwin will be eager to unleash on the England batsmen after a pleasant recent experience at the same venue.

Bowling the first over, Ravichandran Ashwin became the first spinner in 11 years to bowl the first over in a County Championship match, since August 2010. In his first over, he gave away just 2 runs as he bowled to Somerset openers, Devon Conway and Steve Davies. He also managed to pick a wicket in the match in the 40th over in the 1st innings, as he dismissed Tom Lammonby for 42.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 23: Michael Vaughan of the BBC commentary team laughs as he waits to speak on air before play on day one of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 23, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Michael Vaughan Urge England To Drop Out Of Form Zak Crawley And Dom Sibley For 2nd Test

Michael Vaughan, former England captain urged the team to drop Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley for the second Test against India, preferring Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan.

Zak Crawley managed only 6 while Dom Sibley made 28, the duo extending their poor form. England got to 303 in their second innings thanks to a century from Joe Root, and India needs 157 more runs on the final day with nine wickets in hand.

Zak Crawley has been out of form. Pic -AP
Zak Crawley has been out of form. Pic -AP

Michael Vaughan: Zak Crawley could Be A High-Class Test Player But He Hasn’t Scored Enough Runs

Zak Crawley scored 27 while Dom Sibley scored 18 in the first innings. Zak Crawley scored only 6 and Dom Sibley scored only 28 playing as many as 133 balls in the 2nd innings. It is perhaps hard to single out just one member of England’s top order who is in need of discovering some form but Zak Crawley must have felt himself near the top of that list, averaging below 15 in Tests since his extraordinary 267 against Pakistan last summer.

Dom Sibley’s average hasn’t been above 35 in any of the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and New Zealand.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan

“Zak Crawley could be a high-class Test match player but he’s not got enough runs,” Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special. “I wouldn’t play Crawley at Lord’s but he could well go to Australia.”

“He could suit going out of this environment for a while, play some different formats, iron out his technique. It could refresh him. Dom Sibley has done enough to stay in the side but you wonder how much further he can progress. He just can’t go up through the gears and the bowlers are able to control him,”said Michael Vaughan.

“I would bring Haseeb Hameed in for Zak Crawley. I’d also bring Dawid Malan in but he’s clearly not in England’s Test plans. Dan Lawrence has the ability to hit some high-quality shots but you certainly wouldn’t mind bowling to him early on in his innings with that technique,”said Michael Vaughan.

Zak Crawley is having a poor run as he averaged a mere 8.75 against Sri Lanka, 16.75 against India, and 5.25 against New Zealand, and 16.5 against India in the ongoing Test series, but is still being persisted with.

Haseeb Hameed has played only 3 Tests way back in November 2016 against India where he managed 219 runs averaging 43.8. Dawid Malan has played 15 Tests averaging a below-par 27.85 with the last Test coming in 2018 at Edgbaston against India.

Dawid Malan, however,  sits atop the official T20I rankings with a comfortable lead. His numbers justify this ranking on a numerical basis – in just 27 innings, he has scored 1090 runs at an average of 47.39. He’s also crossed 50 twelve times, which shows his consistency is the main reason for his prolific run-scoring.

Michael Vaughan Terms Joe Root’s 21st Test Ton As Pure

Michael Vaughan hailed Joe Root, saying the century was ‘just pure’. Joe Root has always performed against India in Test cricket. He has played 21 matches against India in which he has scored 1962 runs at an average of 56.06 with 6 hundred. He also completed his 1000 runs in 2021 in the longest format of the game.

“That was a wonderful day of Test cricket. That hundred from Joe Root – we’ve seen him play plenty of magnificent innings but that was just pure. Those cover drives, the late cuts, the way he played the spinners and Ravindra Jadeja, it was fantastic.

“He would never admit it but he does carry this batting line-up. And it means he’s not always at his smiley, chirpy best. But he was back there today and it’s exactly what you want to see,”said Michael Vaughan.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

“When Joe Root is smiling, no matter the situation of the game, that’s when he’s at his best and it’s a great example to all young players. Joe Root is the sole batter in the team who you feel is of the highest class in Tests. How he can produce that quality under pressure is because he’s got confidence in his technique. He didn’t go for that chase against New Zealand because he wasn’t sure of his technique so didn’t want to take the risk.”

“But his technique looked so more assured today, he knew exactly what he was doing and that meant he could be positive. From where England were two days ago to where they are now, they have a glimmer of hope of winning because of their captain,”said Michael Vaughan.

After bundling out England for a meagre 183, India rode on KL Rahul’s classy 84 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 56 to score 278 and take a valuable 95-run first-innings lead. Despite skipper Joe Root’s stroke-filled 109, England was bowled out for 303 in their second innings, giving India a 209-run target to chase. At stumps on the fourth day, India was 52 for 1, needing 157 more runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series.

Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter
Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter

Ben Stokes Praises Skipper Joe Root For His 100 On Day 4 Of 1st Test Against India

Ben Stokes, England’s all-rounder has lauded his captain Joe Root for his defiant century on Day 4 of the Nottingham Test against India.

Joe Root struck 109 off 172 balls as England scored 303 in their second innings to set the visitors a victory target of 209 runs. England is missing Ben Stokes, who pulled out of the Test series just a few days before it began, to prioritize his mental well-being.

Ben Stokes, Joe Root.
Ben Stokes, Joe Root. Image-Twitter

Ben Stokes Hails Skipper Joe Root In A Tweet For Scoring Another Test Ton

Joe Root’s 64 in the first innings helped England from a major deficit and his century in the second innings had so much of a fight for his side as the skipper. He finished with 109 in 172 balls with 14 fours and played a lot of shots that were pleasing to the eyes. He has taken England to a respectable score which can be defended in the 4th innings if they bowl well.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Taking to his Twitter account on Saturday, Ben Stokes shared a video of Joe Root celebrating his 21st Test hundred and posted: “My man…..through thick and thin.” He also shared a heart emoji along with the post. Joe Root yet again bailed England out of trouble after their top three failed. Rory Burns (18), Dom Sibley (28), and Zak Crawley (6) were undone by the Indian pacers.

The England captain occupied the crease for 284 minutes during his innings and hit 14 boundaries. Jonny Bairstow (30) and Sam Curran (32) chipped in with decent contributions to lift the hosts past the 300-run mark. For India, Jasprit Bumrah was the standout performer with 5 for 64.

Joe Root Said England Team Was Behind Ben Stokes Who Decided To Take An Indefinite Break From Cricket To Prioritize Mental Wellbeing

Speaking ahead of the Test series against India, Joe Root threw his weight behind Ben Stokes, backing the World Cup-winning all-rounder’s decision to pull out of the series due to mental health issues. Joe Root said that the entire England team was behind Ben Stokes and wished him to be well.

At a press conference, Root had said: “From my point of view, I just want my friend to be okay. Anyone who knows Ben is aware that he always puts other people in front of himself. And I think now is the opportunity for Ben Stokes to put himself first. To take time to look after himself and get himself into a good place again.”

Ben Stokes, England all-rounder
Ben Stokes, England all-rounder (Photo | AP)

“Hopefully that can be sooner rather than later. I think cricket has to be the secondary thought down the line. He should take as much time as he needs. He has got my full support. I am sure he has the ECB’s full support and certainly the whole team’s. More than anything, we just want Ben to be okay.”

Ben Stokes suffered a finger injury during the first match of IPL 2021 and was immediately ruled out of the T20 league. He recently returned to lead an inexperienced England side to a 3-0 win over Pakistan in an ODI series, after the entire original squad was sent into isolation due to COVID-19 hitting the camp.

Ben Stokes broke his hand taking a catch for Rajasthan Royals in the now-suspended Indian Premier League 2021 and a repeat X-ray and CT scan revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger. He missed the 2 Tests against New Zealand while his last Test came against India in March 2021.

Ben Stokes, who in normal circumstances would be vice-captain to Test skipper Joe Root, is a key figure for England. In 71 Tests, he has scored 4,631 runs at 37.04 as a dynamic left-handed batsman, including 10 hundred, and taken 163 wickets at 31.38.

Michael Vaughan (L), Shane Warne and Mark Waugh
Michael Vaughan (L), Shane Warne and Mark Waugh

England’s Batting Order Is Fragile: Michael Vaughan, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh Blast England

England’s recent 1-0 defeat to New Zealand in a two-match series at home has put up big question marks over their batsmen.  The New Zealand series was the second time when the England batsmen failed to produce a comprehensive performance. Earlier in the year, during their tour of India, England, barring the series opener in Chennai, failed to match India in a 1-3 series defeat.

England has a chance to avenge the loss when they host India for a five-match series starting August 4 but they need to sort out their batting in order to avoid a second straight series defeat at home. Considering 2021 is the Ashes year as well, former stars including Australian leg spinner Shane Warne, England batsman Michael Vaughan, and former Australian batsman Mark Waugh have suggested changes Joe Root must make to succeed.

England skipper Joe Root
England skipper Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

England’s Batting Order Is Fragile Admits Michael Vaughan Who Feels Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, And Chris Woakes’ Inclusion Will Improve The Team

Speaking on Fox Cricket’s ‘Road to the Ashes’ podcast, Michael Vaughan opened up on the discussion by issuing a warning to the England side that they can’t go into Ashes with a batting order this fragile and incompetent. Michael Vaughan believes that the inclusion of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Chris Woakes will improve the team but it won’t be sufficient as the team management needs to take some harsh calls.

“The batting line-up is fragile, it is as simple as that,” he said. “[Jos] Buttler, [Ben] Stokes will come back in, [Chris] Woakes – yes, they will improve the team but unless that batting line-up changes and can learn and understand how to get big scores against good bowlers, I can’t see how they can compete. It’s going to be tough to beat India on these shores but Australia will get 450-500, I can’t see it unless they make one or two changes.”

“I’d bring in Dawid Malan back in at No. 3,” he said. “Apparently he is not popular but you know what, who gives a hoot if he scores runs, that’s what I like to see. He’s got a bit of experience, he played well against you guys in Australia last time.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“I’d put him at No. 3, I’d put [Zak] Crawley in to open. I know that’s a bit of fortune for Crawley because he hasn’t got as many runs but I think he can play. I’d leave [Rory] Burns, Crawley, Malan, Root, Stokes, Ollie Pope at six, Buttler at seven, Woakes at eight. Will that be a good enough eight to get big, big scores? I think it’d be a better chance than the seven I saw against New Zealand. They were very, very fragile,” he added.

Injuries to pacer Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been compounded by rest breaks for the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Mark Wood.

Zak Crawley is having a poor run as he averaged a mere 8.75 against Sri Lanka, 16.75 against India, and 5.25 against New Zealand in the Test series, but is still being persisted with. Dominic Sibley’s average hasn’t been above 35 in any of the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and New Zealand.
Joe Root managed only 97 runs averaging a mere 24.25, Dominic Sibley managed 103 runs averaging 34.33, Daniel Lawrence managed 81 runs averaging 40.5 while Rory Burns managed 238 runs averaging 59.5 in the Test series against New Zealand.

Mark Waugh Wants To Exclude Dom Sibley While Shane Warne Feels England Missed A Trick By Playing Rory Burns And Dom Sibley As Openers

Mark Waugh also backed the idea of the exclusion of Dom Sibley from the side as he believes that the batter isn’t a Test player and shouldn’t have been selected in the team in the first place. Mark Waugh added that there is no depth to the England batting as no player including the likes of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence have shown any intent or quality.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

Meanwhile, Shane Warne echoed the same sentiments as Mark Waugh and Michael Vaughan. The spin legend asserted that England is missing a trick by playing Rory Burns and Dom Sibley as their opening pair. He also criticized the two England batsmen by saying that they don’t pose any threat to the opposition team and play into the opposition bowlers’ hands.

Speaking about the changes, Shane Warne suggested that England needs to persist with middle-order batsman Zak Crawley as he is a class player but is going through a lean patch. He also wants Jonny Bairstow to be recalled.

The likes of James Bracey, Joe Denly, Tom Lammonby, Joe Clarke, Will Rhodes, Sam Northeast, James Vince, Gary Ballance, and Dawid Malan are in contention for Test recall, debut, or more opportunities.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Alastair Cook Expresses Sympathy For Joe Root Over England’s Rotation Policy

Alastair Cook has expressed sympathy for Joe Root, his successor as England’s Test captain, over a rotation policy he believes has left the current side “chasing their tail”. Several key players have been deliberately omitted from the eight Tests that England has played so far this year, meaning Joe Root has repeatedly been denied his strongest XI.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have defended the rotation system as a sensible response to the peculiar pressures of prolonged periods amidst the bio-secure bubbles which are now needed for the international game to continue amidst the coronavirus-induced pandemic.

File image of Alastair Cook. Reuters
File image of Alastair Cook. Reuters

Alastair Cook Genuinely Feel Sorry For Joe Root Who’s Been Denied England’s Best Possible XI Due To Controversial Rotation Policy

But with the likes of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler having missed five Tests in a row, partly also as a result of his Indian Premier League commitments, many have questioned the policy’s implementation, if not the motives behind it amidst accusations it has been skewed in favour of white-ball cricket. England went 1-0 up away to India in February after a victory in Chennai — Jos Buttler’s last Test.

But they lost that series 3-1 and this month their seven-year run without a home Test series defeat ended after New Zealand won a two-match campaign 1-0, with a draw at Lord’s followed by an eight-wicket defeat at Edgbaston. Injuries to pacer Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been compounded by rest breaks for the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Mark Wood.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“You have to say it hasn’t worked for Rooty, and I do genuinely feel sorry for him,” said Cook who was taking part in a sponsor’s event on Monday.

“When you’re playing for England, or you’re the captain, coach, or selector, you get judged on end results most of the time and he hasn’t had his best players available. You can’t buy the experience of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali — that kind of players make a big difference.”

Opening batsman Cook, who retired from international duty in 2018 as England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, added: “I’ve never had to captain during a pandemic — I didn’t even know what a pandemic was when I was captain — but you’ve got a Test captain who hasn’t been able to play his best side.”

“The decisions don’t seem like they’ve been made correctly. I’ve been on the other side, where you’re trying to make decisions for the right reasons, but you get judged on your results by it, don’t you?”

“It was going so well, winning Test series at home, then Sri Lanka away and 1-0 up against India. Then you rest and rotate players, and ever since that moment on it’s been chasing their tail a little bit.”

But multi-format star Jos Buttler in a separate conference call Monday, said: “I don’t think there are any perfect answers.”

The dashing shot-maker, who played for Lancashire in the T20 Blast, will be back on England duty when Eoin Morgan’s limited-overs side begins a three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

He added: “Of course it’s always frustrating to miss games. You wish you were available for everything. But in the current climate with all the complications of Covid etc, I do think we have to look after our people.”

Multi-format players Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes were rested after completing a quarantine period following the postponement of the Indian Premier League 2021. All-rounder Ben Stokes (fractured finger) and seam bowler Jofra Archer (elbow injury) were not considered for selection for the New Zealand Tests.

Alastair Cook Warned Against Wholesale Changes To England Test XI

Meanwhile, Alastair Cook warned against wholesale changes to an under-performing Test-match top order where Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence have all had their positions questioned ahead of an upcoming five-match series at home to India, currently contesting the inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

Alastair Cook, still playing for Essex, was asked if he had seen any obvious replacements on the county circuit, ahead of England’s bid to regain the Ashes in Australia later this year.

“No, not really, not in terms of someone who is totally ready,” he replied. “These players, I would say, are the best players around. It just seems like when the pressure is on, they haven’t yet found their method yet to be able to respond to that.”

The likes of James Bracey, Joe Denly, Tom Lammonby, Joe Clarke, Will Rhodes, Sam Northeast, James Vince, Gary Ballance and Dawid Malan are in contention for Test recall, debut or more opportunities.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 23: Michael Vaughan of the BBC commentary team laughs as he waits to speak on air before play on day one of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 23, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

England’s Batting Was Fragile And They Have No Chance In Ashes: Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan, former England skipper came down heavily on the Joe Root-captained home team after they lost to New Zealand by eight wickets in the second Test on Sunday, saying the batting was “fragile”.

New Zealand won the two-Test series 1-0 — their first series triumph in England in 22 years. The win also pushed New Zealand back to the number one spot in Test rankings and gave them a boost ahead of the World Test Championship final against India from June 18.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan: England Can’t Play Ashes With This Fragile Batting Line-up

The first Test between England and New Zealand had ended in a draw while the second was won by the Kiwis as the team reclaimed the top rank in Test rankings. Michael Vaughan, who has played 86 Tests for England, said if the England team continues to underperform, it will have no chance in the Ashes later this year in Australia.

“They now have just five chances to sort the batting out before the Ashes. They can’t arrive in Australia with a batting line-up this fragile. They’d have no chance. This batting line-up is fragile and we have to now start looking at players and wondering if they are good enough because they keep getting out cheaply,” Michael Vaughan said on the BBC Test Match Special.

England and Australia -The Ashes
England and Australia -The Ashes © AFP

Despite winning the Cricket World Cup in July 2019 for the first time, England had also been criticized for its fragile top-order in Tests. The retirement of opener Alastair Cook in August 2018 ensured potential top-order batsmen Rory Burns, Joe Denly, and Jason Roy were able to secure a place in the side. The 2019 series was eventually drawn 2–2, with Australia retaining the Ashes. The 2021 Ashes series is scheduled for December 2021 through January 2022.

Michael Vaughan: Everything Has Gone Downhill For England After They Won The 1st Test Against India In India

England will get a chance to redeem themselves when they take on the Virat Kohli-led India in a five-match Test series in August-September this year.

“England have tinkered too much. Everything has gone downhill for England since they went up 1-0 in India. Don’t muck about with Test cricket. England isn’t a good enough team to muck about,” Michael Vaughan added.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley is having a poor run as he averaged a mere 8.75 against Sri Lanka, 16.75 against India, and 5.25 against New Zealand in the ongoing Test series, but is still being persisted with. Rory Burns, despite his 132 and 81 in the two Tests, averaged a mere 5 against Pakistan and 14.5 against India in the two preceding series. Dom Sibley’s average hasn’t been above 35 in any of the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and New Zealand.
England won the first Test by 227 runs, and India won the second Test by 317 runs, to level the series at 1–1. The third Test, a day/night fixture, was completed inside two days, with India winning by ten wickets. The loss meant that England could no longer qualify for the final of the World Test ChampionshipIndia won the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs, taking the series 3–1.
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Viv Richards Is Wrong, England Batsmen Are Right: Nasser Hussain Questions England’s Batting Technique

Nasser Hussain questioned the batting technique showed by England, who were reduced to 122/9 in their second innings and are heading towards a series defeat against New Zealand.

Former captain Nasser Hussain has lambasted the England cricket team for their pathetic show with the bat in the second innings of the second Test against New Zealand in Edgbaston.

In response to New Zealand’s first-innings lead of 85, England’s top-order was dismissed cheaply by pacers Matt Henry and Neil Wagner as Joe Root’s side collapsed to 76/7 before Mark Wood and Olly Stone added a semblance of respect to the total.

Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain Questioned England’s Batting Technique

England ended the day on 122/9 with a lead of just 37 runs and is heading towards a series defeat. Nasser Hussain questioned England’s batting technique, believing they should have shown orthodoxy in their approach.

“There seems to have been a reinvention of the wheel out there with batting. Techniques out there that everyone else who has played the game before – they are all wrong and we are right.

“We’re going to have these odd little techniques, we’re going to have the bat coming across it, we’re going to stand funny, we’re going to swing outside our off stump because everyone else in the history of the game – Viv Richards, you are wrong, and we are right,” Nasser Hussain wrote on Sky Sports.

Joe Root
Joe Root
Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

In the first Test in Lord’s as well, England received flak for opting not to chase down 273 runs in the final two sessions of the match. Joe Root, England captain defended his side’s approach by saying the “series is very much alive” after they laboured to a draw in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday. England, who has not lost a home red-ball series since 2014, was 170-3 in 70 overs when a draw was agreed in the 1st Test.

Nasser Hussain Urges England Batsmen Have To Get Back To Playing Normally

 With a five-Test series awaiting against India, Nasser Hussain believes England needs to take a stock of where they stand in terms of batting. The former captain reckons the current tactics need to change in order to ensure good performances at both international and County cricket alike.

“I’m not seeing we are right at the moment, whether it be in Sri Lanka where Joe Root carried them, whether it be in India and they don’t have the excuse of the pitches turning here. Whether it is the seaming ball or the spinning ball, they are right and everyone else is wrong. And I don’t see a young batting line-up.

“I see Sibley, Burns, Crawley, Root, and Pope. There’s no one missing in that top five – then come Stokes and Buttler. They’ve got all the coaches, all the backroom staff – please, just get back to playing normally and getting a first innings score,” Hussain added.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter
“Technically gifted, sound batsmen playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played – let the ball come to you, leave it well and play with a straight bat. Six changes they’ve made and they still look such a sharp outfit.”
Zak Crawley is having a poor run as he averaged a mere 8.75 against Sri Lanka, 16.75 against India, and 5.25 against New Zealand in the ongoing Test series, but is still being persisted with.
Rory Burns, despite his 132 and 81 in the two Tests, averaged a mere 5 against Pakistan and 14.5 against India in the two preceding series. Dom Sibley’s average hasn’t been above 35 in any of the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and New Zealand.
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