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Jack Leach

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Jack Leach Is Personally Confident Of Doing Well Against India In 5 Tests

Jack Leach, England spinner feels his team’s performance against India in the upcoming five-match Test series will determine where it stands in terms of growth and he is personally confident of doing well, having played against them in an away assignment earlier this year.

The left-arm spinner had taken 18 wickets when England toured India in February and March this year. Jack Leach said his success in that series makes him confident of doing well in the upcoming contest, beginning at Trent Bridge in Nottingham from Wednesday, 4th August.

Jack Leach hasn't played a home Test in two years.
Jack Leach hasn’t played a home Test in two years.

Jack Leach Enjoys Bowling Spin In England And Is Confident Of Doing Well

England spinner Jack Leach hasn’t played a Test at home since the 2019 Ashes. The Somerset bowler hopes to find a place in England’s XI during the Test series against India starting Wednesday. Jack Leach, who missed out on the home series against the West Indies, Pakistan, and New Zealand, has played just 15 out of England’s 39 Tests since his debut in March 2018.

“The belief that I can bowl at these guys and do well,” Leach was quoted as saying by ‘The Guardian’ when asked what he can take from the tour of India.

England faces India in the first of a five-Test series at Trent Bridge starting on Wednesday, with Joe Root’s men looking to avenge their 3-1 reverse in the sub-continent earlier this year.

“If the wicket is better it is just adapting your skill slightly. I enjoy bowling spin in England. The wickets generally are quite dry and there is definitely a role to play. Playing against India, who are such a strong side, in a five Test-match series, will tell us a lot about where we’re at.”

Jack Leach
Jack Leach. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Jack Leach is keen to do well so that he can cement his place in the side, which is set to clash with Australia in the Ashes series later this year.

“I guess I’m still trying to work my way into the team on a consistent basis. That’s my main thought: making sure my game is in a good place so I can be in the team and performing consistently,” he said.

Jack Leach last played a Test in November 2019 against New Zealand before the Sri Lanka series in January 2021 and the India series in March 2021. He has picked 62 scalps in 16 Tests. In the last series he played against India, he picked 18 scalps averaging 28.72.

Jack Leach: England Team Supporting Ben Stokes In His Decision To Take A Break

Team’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes recently announced that he has taken an indefinite break to “prioritize his mental wellbeing”. It is believed that a few other players may also skip the series but Jack Leach is determined to compete.

“My way of doing things is taking one little part at a time and I’m very focused on this India series. If I don’t play well, might not be where I’m going in the winter (Australia). It’s about taking care of what is in front of you. “

“There’s been a little bit of chat (about families on tour) but through my experiences in the past, missing bits of cricket through illness or injury, I want to be doing everything I can to play for England, reach my potential and see what I can achieve at the highest level.”

Ben Stokes will not be available for England's Test series against India.© AFP
Ben Stokes will not be available for England’s Test series against India.© AFP’

“It’s something I’d be very excited about, Australia in Australia. It’s the ultimate test and something you grow up looking at and thinking: ‘Wow, it’s amazing.’ (But) I’ll just think about what’s in front of me: Test matches against India.”

Jack Leach though said the entire England team supports Ben Stokes in his decision.

“All the lads are behind Ben and supporting him where we can. He has shown courage and bravery to prioritise his mental health. He is a focal part of our team and we will miss him. His priority is to take some time out from the game to get better. We can’t wait to welcome him back in the near future and winning games of cricket for England,” he said.

Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the upcoming 5-match Test series against India which begins from August 4 in Nottingham as he has decided to ‘prioritize his mental wellbeing’. 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.

 

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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Nasser Hussain Feels England Made A Tactical Blunder By Not Including Spinner Jack Leach

Nasser Hussain believes England made a tactical blunder by not including left-arm spinner Jack Leach in the playing XI for the Edgbaston Test. According to the former England skipper, since the Edgbaston pitch is a flat one, the hosts needed variety to make an impression on the New Zealand batsmen without Kane Williamson.

Responding to England’s first-innings total of 303, New Zealand ended Day 2 of the second Test at 229 for 3. It could have been worse for England had Dan Lawrence not dismissed Will Young (82) just before stumps. Earlier, opener Devon Conway, the double centurion in his debut Test-the 1st Test vs England again thwarted the English attack, making a well-made 80.

Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Nasser Hussain Wanted A Spiner At Edgbaston And Expressed Surprise At Jack Leach’s Omission

In his column for the Daily Mail, former England skipper turned commentator Nasser Hussain wrote that England needed a frontline spinner in the second Test to compete against a strong Kiwi batting line-up.

He explained:“I did not think that at Lord’s, where there is always something in for seamers. But whenever I have come to Edgbaston I’ve always wanted a spinner because of the conditions we’ve seen in this game. So I’d have found a way to get Jack Leach in the side. If he doesn’t play here, it’s difficult to see just where he will play Test cricket.”

Nasser Hussain expressed his surprise at England’s bowling line-up, pointing out that managing director Ashley Giles (a left-arm spinner during his playing days) and spin coach Jeetan Patel should have known better. The former skipper added that part-time spinner Joe Root cannot be considered as England’s main spinner.

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

He wrote: “Yes, Joe Root is a good off-spinner but it is an indictment on the slow bowling options in our country if he is now considered England’s best spin option. He is already England’s captain and best batsman, so it’s asking a lot for him to shoulder the spin load too. It’s an area of our game where we continue to struggle.”

“Perhaps England’s thinking is connected with two left-armers in the New Zealand attack, in Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, and the fact Stuart Broad is doing a lot of his bowling from round the wicket. That will create rough outside the right-hander’s off-stump for Root. But just look at the weather. It’s going to be very hot for the last three days, and it’s going to get harder for an all-seam attack.”

Devon Conway, who cemented his place in the side with 200 on debut in the series opener at Lord’s, produced another valuable, though not chance-less, innings of 80. And, while he would have been disappointed not to press on to triple figures again, a gutsy 82 from Will Young – in the side as a replacement for injured captain Kane Williamson – mitigated the damage.
Stuart Broad bowled superbly for his 2 for 22 from 15 overs, including six maidens, but he was the only England bowler to reap any reward for his considerable efforts – until Will Young’s dismissal by part-time off-spinner Dan Lawrence on the last ball of the day.

Nasser Hussain: Stuart Broad Was The Pick Of The England Pace Attack

Even though England could only claim three wickets on a tough Day 2, Nasser Hussain felt that the pacers did a reasonable job. He picked Stuart Broad (2/22) as the best of the lot. Stuart Broad went past Courtney Walsh (520) on the list of leading Test wicket-takers on Friday.

Praising England’s faster men, Nasser Hussain wrote: “That’s not to say England’s seamers didn’t bowl well — even though Olly Stone struggled to maintain control as the day went on — and there was much more swing on offer once they persuaded the umpires to change the ball. The old one was doing nothing. Broad was the pick of the attack. “

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

“His new-ball spell was exceptional and he was excellent after tea when he got that changed ball. Perhaps seeing sides struggle against the Dukes’ ball in England has made us expect wickets to come much more cheaply than this. But Test cricket is tough and that’s why you need proper variety in every attack.”

Resuming the day on 258 for 7, England was all out for 303 in 101 overs. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult claimed 4 for 85 for New Zealand. The Kiwis lost Tom Latham (6) early, but the 80s from Devon Conway and Will Young gave the visitors the upper hand.

New Zealand 229 for 3 (Conway 80, Young 82, Taylor 46*, Broad 2-22) trail England 303 (Lawrence 81*, Burns 81, Boult 4-85) by 74 runs at Stumps on Day 2

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.

England skipper Joe Root (Photo | PTI)
England skipper Joe Root (Photo | PTI)
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Team’s Motive Is To Do Something Special In India, Says Joe Root

Joe Root, England skipper has said that his team England wasn’t taking the opportunity to ‘helping Australia’ and that the main motive of the England team was to end the 4-match Test series on a high as Australia needs England to beat India in the 4th and final Test to qualify for the World Test championship final.

India need a draw or a win and Australia need England to beat India to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship which will be played at Lord’s from June 18.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Ross Setford/Reuters

Even A Draw In The 4th Test Would Be A Fantastic Achievement: Joe Root

Australia stand-in coach Andrew McDonald has publicly said that Australia are backing their Ashes foes and hoping the team do well in the Ahmedabad Test from Thursday.

But England captain Joe Root doesn’t see the upcoming match as an opportunity to help Australia. With a smile on his face, the 30-year-old said that the team’s only motive was to salvage a draw and do something special in India. Notably, England is out of the WTC final race after losing the pink-ball Test by 10 wickets.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald Getty Images

“I wouldn’t see it as helping Australia. I would see it as ending with a drawn series and doing something special in India. Unfortunately, we can’t qualify for the final now but a draw would be a fantastic achievement and that’s all I can really say as an England captain,” Joe Root said.

The four-match series between India and England are poised at 2-1 in favour of India after England won the 1st Test by 227 runs before losing the next by 317 runs. India won the 3rd Test by 10 wickets in a low scoring encounter where England was dismissed after managing only 112 and 81 in the two innings respectively.  India also suffered a batting collapse in their first innings by scoring 145.

 England Must Embrace Conditions And Play A Fearless Brand Of Cricket: Joe Root

Joe Root reiterated that England need to play a fearless but not reckless brand of cricket. He expressed the belief that his side has all the “ingredients” to succeed in tough Indian conditions.

“I think it’s a reflection of conditions,’ said Root. ‘Being fearless means not having that tentative mentality of being trapped on the crease or caught in two minds. It’s having confidence to play the ball in front of you, not having baggage from what has happened before, not overthinking the pitch and trying to see things as they are.”

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

“It is all still there for us. We’ve got all the ingredients, all the pieces and all the skills to exploit and succeed in these conditions. It’s important we harness that and have it in the front of our minds. We need to be braver and play with a bit more freedom.”

‘That doesn’t mean going out there and trying to slog it or be ultra-aggressive. We play our game a certain way but we must not be scared of conditions. We must embrace them, however they turn out in this game,” Joe Root added.

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 9.44. Ravichandran Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests.

India smartly included three spinners in starting XI, while England banked on one front-line spinner in Jack Leach, which, in hindsight, did not work in the best of interests for Joe Root’s team. After bagging a maiden five-wicket-haul on his Test debut at Chennai, Axar Patel was unplayable and finished with 11 wickets in the match – 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second – as India bundled out England for 112 and 81 in the two innings.

Jeetan Patel
Jeetan Patel - GETTY IMAGES
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England Didn’t Expect The Ball To Turn As Early As It Did In The 3rd Test: Jeetan Patel

Jeetan Patel, England’s spin bowling coach has also admitted that the visitors England did not expect spin to play a part so early in the 3rd Test match and that is the reason behind picking the playing XI with more seamers.

28 out of 30 wickets fell to spinners in the 3rd Test at Ahmedabad. England team management got their strategy wrong as they went in with three seamers on turning tracks.

Jeetan Patel
Jeetan Patel OISIN KENIRY/INPHO

Jeetan Patel: England Expected To Get Spinning Surfaces But Didn’t Expect To Spin From 1st Day Itself

The third recently concluded Test between India and England has thrown open a big controversy regarding the pitch. The match got finished inside two days with India comprehensively outplaying England by 10 wickets after dismissing them to less than 120 in both innings.

It was turning track with Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Joe Root, and Jack Leach bamboozling the batsmen. Jeetan Patel said if England had scored 200 or above in the 1st innings, the match could have been different.

“Look, it is India, it is Asia. We expect to get spinning surfaces, maybe we did not expect to take a spin as early as it did and hence the line-up we picked. It was a tough pitch to play on and we got on the wrong side of it. In the first innings when we won the toss, 112 was not going to be enough on any surface — spinning, flat, or seaming. We were excited when we bowled India out for 140-odd. But again it did not click in the second innings. If we had scored 200 or 230 in the first innings, the game could have been different,” Jeetan Patel said at a virtual press conference on Monday.

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

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.

India smartly included three spinners in starting XI, while England banked on one front-line spinner in Jack Leach, which, in hindsight, did not work in the best of interests for Joe Root’s team. After bagging a maiden five-wicket-haul on his Test debut at Chennai, Axar Patel was unplayable and finished with 11 wickets in the match – 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second – as India bundled out England for 112 and 81 in the two innings.

Jeetan Patel: England Had A Plan Which Didn’t Work As The Pink Ball Reacted Differently

Only 140.2 overs were bowled over the 4 innings overall as the Pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad ended in a little over 5 sessions. This was the first time England lost a Test-inside 2 days since 1912 as the Test became the shortest completed Test since 1935.

“The Pink ball reacted differently and it did not go the way we thought it would go. We had a plan but it did not quite work. The pink ball had so many unknowns really and how it will react in terms of the wicket we did not know. You are never sure how things are going to play in Asia.” Jeetan Patel said.

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)

For England, part-time spinner Joe Root picked 5 scalps giving away only 8 runs in 6.2 overs. Notably, Joe Root-led England played Jack Leach as their only frontline spinner while India played 3 spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Washington Sundar.

Despite Jack Leach picking 16 scalps overall in 3 Tests averaging 26.75, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are ahead of him in terms of both average and wickets. Among others, 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 impressive bowling as he picked up 5 scalps in 34 overs in the 1st Test.

Jonathan Trott (Getty Images)
Jonathan Trott (Getty Images)
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Jonathan Trott Feels It Would Be A Disservice To Solely Blame The Pitch

Jonathan Trott, England’s batting coach feels that it would be a disservice to solely blame the pitch and said things could have been different if England would have batted well in the first innings.

England batting coach Jonathan Trott refused to blame Ahmedabad’s pitch for his team’s defeat as he said that the pitch was the same for both sides and the team should focus instead on the chinks in their armoury and match India skill-wise.

Jonathan Trott
Jonathan Trott [GETTY]

Jonathan Trott: Blaming The Pitch Would Be Doing A Disservice As It Was Same For Both Sides

Notably, the Ahmedabad surface has received a lot of flak from experts after the pink ball Test ended within two days but Jonathan Trott reiterated that things could have been different if England had batted well in the first innings.

“I thought it was tricky at times for everybody to play on, obviously pretty dry and that’s what we have seen here in India. We had first use for it, so we would have like to score more runs and put India under a bit of pressure,” he said in a virtual press conference.

“We saw when we bowled well, we could restrict them to.”

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

Jonathan Trott didn’t want to get into the blame game as he said the challenge of different conditions in different countries makes Test cricket a unique challenge.

“I always like to see what we could have done better instead of blame things. If we could have got 200 or 250 in the first innings, it would have been a different game. The mentality (mental approach) of batting in the second innings would have been very different. So looking and blaming the pitch, I think, would be doing ourselves a disservice. Yes, the ball did spin and there were balls which skid on but it was the same for both sides.”

“Whether it finishes in two days or whatever, you always want to see good cricket and the good battle between bat and ball and clearly bowlers had the upper hand in this Test series so let’s see what happens in the last Test. I wouldn’t say it does disservice I would say different conditions, different countries all around the world, that makes Test cricket so unique and that’s the way the game is played.”

India beat England in the third Test by 10 wickets, inside two days to complete the shortest Test since World War II.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the Man of the Match after producing a match-haul of 11 for 70. England suffered a collapse in the first essay, as they managed only 112 despite being placed comfortably at 74 for 2 at one stage.

After bagging a maiden five-wicket-haul on his Test debut at Chennai, Axar Patel was unplayable in the 3rd Test and produced figures of 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second as India bundled out England for 112 and 81 in the two innings.

Jonathan Trott Disappointed With How The Last 2 Tests Have Gone As England Want To Pull Up Their Socks

India smartly included three spinners in starting XI, while England banked on one front-line spinner in Jack Leach, which, in hindsight, did not work in the best of interests for Joe Root’s team.

Asked about the mood in the camp, he said: “It is disappointing with how the two Tests have gone for us. But you don’t become a bad side after just two Test matches, yes it hurts and we want to pull up our socks and do well for England. It makes you doubly determined to do well.”

“It is important that one does not become too desperate. We are disappointed with the way we played, but it’s done and the focus on the next match. But Pink ball cricket is here to stay so it is important that guys get used to it. Some very good matches have been played around the world.”

“After losing the first one, we thought we need to pull up our socks and unfortunately this one didn’t go our way as well. We have won 6 out of 8 Tests in sub-continent, so I don’t think it is time to get too down on ourselves,” Jonathan Trott said.

“I think India played well, they bowled well with their two spinners. It is time for us to match them skill-wise in whatever the surface comes next week.

Jack Leach
Jack Leach. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Jonathan Trott said it was tricky for a top-order batsman to face spin first-up.

“I think starting against spin as a top-order batsman can be tricky. Certainly in England, you play a lot of seam, so getting used to it, getting your head around that is key, India opened with spinners in the last Test and the previous one as well,” he said.

“So starting against spin is tricky, certainly with the new ball that is skidding and odd one turning. Getting used to the rhythm is key, the more you face, you get used to the pace of the pitch. You can adjust when it (ball) gets old, ” Jonathan Trott said.

Even Indian batsmen struggled against part-time spinner Joe Root and Jack Leach on the 2nd day with the hosts collapsing from a strong commendable position of 99 for 3 to 145 in the first session mainly due to the England captain Joe Root’s maiden five-wicket haul.

England then was dismissed after scoring only 81 in their second innings, lasting just 30.4 overs with all 10 batsmen falling to spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill knocked off the required 49-run target in just 7.4 overs to win the match for India.

Axar Patel
Axar Patel
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Axar Patel Pushed The Ball Through Instead Of Tossing It Up Like Jack Leach: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian cricketer explained the reason behind spinner Axar Patel’s success, saying that contrary to the general consensus of pitching the ball up and giving it air, the left-arm spinner did something different given the nature of the pitch, which worked brilliantly for him.

The Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Washington Sundar combined to pick 19 England wickets in the 3rd Test at Ahmedabad, while the only wicket that fell to pace belonged to Ishant Sharma.

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

Sachin Tendulkar: Batsmen Who Tried To Cover The Spin Were Dismissed LBW Or Were Bowled

India smartly included three spinners in starting XI, while England banked on one front-line spinner in Jack Leach, which, in hindsight, did not work in the best of interests for Joe Root’s team. While Ravichandran Ashwin continued his brilliant form from the second Test in Chennai, picking up seven wickets in the match, it was Axar Patel’s performance that was doing the rounds.

“When a left-arm spinner is bowling to a right-hander, then he cannot bowl outside off stump. The length is important but the line becomes even more important. So the line of a left-arm spinner against a right-handed batsman has to be on-off and middle so you cannot leave the ball,” Sachin Tendulkar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

“Even if the ball is turning, you have to play because the odd one will go through and that is what happened. There were batters who were looking to play marginally behind the line and there were those who were trying to cover the spin. The ones who tried to cover were either bowled or out LBW.”

After bagging a maiden five-wicket-haul on his Test debut at Chennai, Axar Patel was unplayable and finished with 11 wickets in the match – 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second – as India bundled out England for 112 and 81 in the two innings.

Axar Patel is on a dream run taking 18 wickets in his first two Tests averaging a meagre 9.44. Ravichandran Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests while Jack Leach is 3rd on the list with 16 scalps.

Sachin Tendulkar: Left Arm Spinner’s Speed, Trajectory, And Angle Becomes Important As Jack Leach Was Trying In Vain To Toss Up The Ball

England found a surprise bowler in Joe Root, who with his off-spin dismantled India’s first innings, picking up his maiden First-Class five-wicket haul. Joe Root finished with career-best 5/8 as India lost five wickets for 11 runs to be skittled for 145. Sachin Tendulkar found Joe Root putting the same kind of effort as Axar Patel, but failed to spot it in Jack Leach.

“The left-arm spinner’s speed, the trajectory, the angle becomes important. It’s not one of those surfaces where you’ll toss the ball up and then as we say buy a wicket. If the wicket is offering assistance, what you need to do is not give batsmen enough time to adjust,” Sachin Tendulkar added.

Jack Leach
Jack Leach. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“And Axar was brilliant at that. Since we’re talking of left-arm spinners, I did not find Leach doing that consistently. He was still trying to toss up the ball, but on this surface, you need to push the ball through a bit,” Sachin Tendulkar further said.

Indian spinners combined to pick up 19 wickets against England in the third Test in Ahmedabad. India spinners had a field day in the third Test against England in Ahmedabad, which finished in less than two days.

In the 3rd Test and Axar Patel’s 2nd one, he started to bowl as early as the 7th over in the 1st innings and struck on his very first delivery. Jonny Bairstow went to play for the turn but the ball went straight to hit his pad.

The 27-year-old spinner executed his arm balls to perfection to trap two more English batsmen namely Ben Stokes and Zak Crawley in front of the stumps before hitting out the stumps of Ben Foakes and Jofra Archer while Stuart Broad was caught. In the 2nd innings, he picked Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, and Ben Foakes.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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England Can’t Use Pitch As An Excuse For Losing The Ahmedabad Test: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain is of the opinion that the pitch for the third India-England Test fell short of providing a fair bout between the bat and ball. However, the former England captain added that the visitors can’t use the Motera pitch as an excuse for the 10-wicket defeat.

Unprecedented scenes unfolded in Ahmedabad as the third Test was finished within two days. Spinners of both teams, including part-time off-spinner Joe Root, wreaked havoc and picked up as many as 28 of the total 30 wickets to fall in the game.

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

Nasser Hussain Don’t Believe Ahmedabad Pitch Provided A Fair Contest Between Bat And Ball

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain analyzed the ‘exhausting’ Test and commended the Indian spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin.

“I don’t believe the Ahmedabad pitch provided a fair contest between bat and ball – but neither do I believe England can use that as an excuse for losing the third Test. India’s two spinners – Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin – exploited the conditions beautifully. Patel with his pace and accuracy, Ashwin with his clever variation. But for batsmen on both sides – and don’t forget India were bowled out for 145 – it was an exhausting business. It was fun to watch, but probably less fun to play. And let’s face it, if Joe Root is taking five for eight, you can hardly say the pitch is a belter,” wrote Nasser Hussain.

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)

Nasser Hussain added that irrespective of the discussions surrounding various intangibles, England lost the game because of their horrendous batting collapse in the first innings.

“Having said all that, England should expect little else when they come to India. And they ought to have done better after winning the toss. Above all, this game told us a lot about where England are as a Test side in these conditions.

“There’ll be a lot of discussion about the pitch, and the hasty decision-making of the third umpire, and so on. But that’s for others to discuss. The bottom line for England is that they won a good toss, and collapsed from 74 for two to 112 in their first innings. In the end, that’s what cost them the Test,” added Nasser Hussain.

England was skittled out for 112 in their first innings on a track assisting spinners at the world’s largest cricket stadium. Even Indian batsmen struggled against part-time spinner Joe Root and Jack Leach on the 2nd day with the hosts collapsing from a strong commendable position of 99 for 3 to 145 in the first session mainly due to the England captain Joe Root’s maiden five-wicket haul.

England then was dismissed after scoring only 81 in their second innings, lasting just 30.4 overs with all 10 batsmen falling to spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel. Rohit Sharma (25*) and Shubman Gill (15*) knocked off the required 49-run target in just 7.4 overs to win the match for India.

Nasser Hussain: Axar Patel’s Accuracy Mind-Boggling

Axar Patel, who made his Test debut in the 2nd Test at Chennai, picked up 11 wickets in Ahmedabad. Playing at his home ground, the left-arm spinner got the ball to turn and skid from the same point, creating doubts in the minds of the batsmen. Nasser Hussain called Axar Patel’s accuracy ‘mind-boggling’ while underlining the England batsmen’s lack of application against him as they kept repeating the same mistakes committed earlier.

“England ought to have been more alert to what Patel was trying to do. It’s a bit like when we batted against Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in their pomp, and they’d get the reverse-swinging yorker going.

“Our plan – and it wasn’t always successful – was to guard against the one that crushed us on the toe. We realized that was the danger ball, rather than the one that went away outside off stump,” Nasser Hussain wrote.

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

The former England captain Nasser Hussain further added in this regard: “You try to protect yourself from the danger delivery, and it felt as if England kept repeating the same mistake against Patel. Take nothing away from India’s spinners, though. Patel’s accuracy is mind-boggling, and part of England’s problem was that he gave them nothing to hit, which meant natural variation came into play.”

Axar Patel took 11 wickets in both innings combined as he is on a dream run taking 18 wickets in his first two Tests averaging a meagre 9.44. Ravichandran Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests while Jack Leach is 3rd on the list with 16 scalps. The 4th and final Test of the series will start on March 4th at the same venue.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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Batsmen From Both Sides Made Mistakes In The 3rd Test: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma, who hit a match-winning 66 in the 1st innings and remained unbeaten on 25 in the second, defended the Ahmedabad pitch, saying batsmen of England and India ended up making a lot of mistakes which eventually led to the early finish of the 3rd Test-inside 2 days.

India’s opener Rohit Sharma defended the pitch used for the Pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad, saying there were no real demons on it and both teams’ batsmen made mistakes that led to an incredibly early finish.

Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Rohit Sharma: Batsmen From Both Sides Made Mistakes As There Were No Demons On The Pitch

Rohit Sharma said the pitch was nice to bat on when settled, and batsmen needed more concentration and the right positive approach and intent to scoring runs while speaking about the much-criticized pitch. His comments come after India wrapped up the 3rd Test by 10 wickets to go 2-1 up in the 4-Test series.

Only 140.2 overs were bowled over the 4 innings overall as the Pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad ended in a little over 5 sessions. This was the first time England lost a Test-inside 2 days since 1912 as the Test became the shortest completed Test since 1935.

“To be honest, on a pitch like that.. the pitch didn’t do anything. If I can recollect, most of the batsmen got out to straighter deliveries. Not just them, we, as a batting unit, made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t bat well in the first innings. The pitch had nothing as such, no such demons as we call. It was a nice pitch to bat on, once you’re in, you can score runs as well,” Rohit said during a virtual press conference.

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

“But again, you just need to apply and keep concentrating on a pitch like that. To score runs, you need more concentration on a pitch like that,” he added.

England was bundled after scoring a paltry 112 in the first innings despite having won the toss and opted to bat. In response, India rode on a Rohit Sharma fifty and ended the first day’s play at 99 for 3. However, they lost wickets in a hurry on the 2nd day, eventually getting bundled out for 145. For England, part-time spinner Joe Root picked 5 scalps giving away only 8 runs in 6.2 overs.

England, after having done all the hard work with the ball, failed to seize the initiative as they were restricted to only 81 in their 2nd innings. Man of Match Axar Patel picked up 11 wickets and Ravichandran Ashwin 7 as India spinners dominated once again in the Test series.

Rohit Sharma: On A Pitch Like Ahmedabad One Need To Have An Intent And Can’t Just Keep Blocking

Rohit Sharma hit 66 in just 96 balls in the first innings, which eventually proved to be the difference in the end. He looked comfortable as long as he was out in the middle but he got out while trying to play a sweep shot against Jack Leach on Day 2 morning.

Jack Leach - Getty Images
Jack Leach – Getty Images

Stressing about the importance of looking to score runs on a pitch like the one in Ahmedabad, Rohit added: “When you are playing on a pitch like that, you need to have an intent and look to score runs as well.

“You can’t just keep blocking. As you saw that oddball might just turn and oddball might just skid onto stumps, when you play for a turn. You just need to be slightly ahead at times and try to find ways to score runs. My intent was not just to survive but try and score runs as well, while respecting the good balls.”

India will head into the 4th and final Test, starting March 4 in Ahmedabad with an opportunity to make it 3-1 and seal a berth in the final of the World Test Championship. After losing, England is out of contention for a spot in the final but Australia can go through if England beats India in the next and final 4th Test.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP
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Sunil Gavaskar: England Have Chance If They Dismiss Rohit Sharma Early

Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on opener Rohit Sharma after he led India’s reply to England’s paltry first innings total of 112 with a fluent unbeaten fifty on a difficult batting pitch on Day 1 of the pink-ball Test.

Former India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Rohit Sharma can be the deciding factor in the Pink-ball Test, adding England have a chance to come back into the match if they manage to dismiss the opener early on the second day’s play.

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

Sunil Gavaskar: Rohit Sharma Knows How To Pace His Innings

Rohit Sharma was one of the stars who shone for India on Day 1 of the historic Test being played at the rebuilt Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricket venue in the world.

Despite the rest of the batsmen struggling to get going on a 13-wicket day at the Motera, Rohit Sharma was at his fluent best, remaining unbeaten on 57 as India headed to Stumps in a dominant position. Despite losing Virat Kohli in the final over of the day, India went at Stump’s at 99 for 3, trailing England’s first-innings total only by 13 runs.

“The way Rohit Sharma is batting, the confidence that Ajinkya Rahane is showing, there was no night watchman after the last wicket of the day fell, that shows India are pretty confident of overhauling England’s total and get a substantial lead to make sure they don’t have to bat in the fourth innings. Even if they have to, maybe for not too many runs,” Sunil Gavaskar told Star Sports.

Indian opener Rohit Sharma Image Credit: PTI
Indian opener Rohit Sharma Image Credit: PTI

“He (Rohit) knows how to play, how to pace his innings. That’s what he is going to try to do. And he is the kind of player who can’t be put under any pressure. He can play through the off-side, play through the on-side and he is such a difficult batsman to keep quiet.”

“He will be scoring all the time. When the opposition has got only 112, they can’t let him get off to a start (on Thursday). They need his wicket more than anybody else’s wicket. If they get him out early tomorrow, they are in with a chance. That’s why Rohit is going to be crucial to this match from tomorrow onwards,” he added.

Rohit Sharma, who hit a decisive 161 in the 2nd Test in Chennai, was once again dominant against the England attack in difficult batting conditions. He added a 64-run stand with the captain, who departed for 27, handing England spinner Jack Leach his 2nd wicket of the Test.

India is comfortably in the driver’s seat after spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin shared 9 wickets between them to dismiss England for a paltry 112 after Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat. Axar Patel playing only his 2nd Test picked 6 wickets conceding 38 runs.

Sunil Gavaskar: England Will Be Happy That Virat Kohli Was Dismissed Early And Didn’t Trouble Bowlers After Dropped Chance

Virat Kohli was dropped when he was batting on 24 towards the fag end of Day 1 play as pacer James Anderson continued the wait for the India skipper’s wicket since 2014. However, Virat Kohli was not able to add much to his tally as he chopped one onto the stumps in Jack Leach’s final over of the day.

“He didn’t trouble the England bowlers after that escape (dropped chance of Anderson). That is something that England will be happy about. If India had to go close of play with just two wickets down with Virat Kohli batting on 30 and Rohit Sharma batting on fifty-odd, that would have meant the England team would have had a sleepless night.”

Virat Kohli scored a masterful 62 in India's second innings in the 2nd Test against England.© BCCI
Virat Kohli scored a masterful 62 in India’s second innings in the 2nd Test against England.© BCCI

“Now they are in with a chance, Ajinkya Rahane is new to the crease, they have got the rock Cheteshwar Pujara for 0. Clearly, England will say to themselves that if we bowl well and take our catches, then we can restrict India to a reasonable total,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Sunil Gavaskar believes England will be happy as they got Virat Kohli’s wicket late in the day and can still fight back into the Test if they manage to get Rohit Sharma early on Day 2.

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