eng vs ind
IND vs ENG | England need ‘something amazing’ to avoid defeat against India, believes Graham Thorpe
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England batting coach Graham Thorpe has stated that the visitors need to bat extremely well and something amazing must happen for them to avoid a sure loss from a rampant Indian side. Thorpe has further added that they were naturally disappointed with the deficit in the game after two days.England suffered a major collapse in the first innings after India posted a competitive total of 329 runs and even though they just managed to get past the follow-on mark, the eventuality was all too familiar for a team that had lost only two Test matches at home in the last nine years.With India now looking to stretch their lead, which currently stands at a brilliant 249, things look ominous for England. Batting coach Graham Thorpe admitted the same and asserted that England need 'something amazing' to avoid defeat against India in the second Test in Chennai. "You'd say we need something very special to happen tomorrow for us and for somebody to do something amazing with that bat. We're naturally disappointed with the deficit in the game after two days, but it's important we don't allow ourselves to get too down about it," Thorpe said in the virtual press conference from Chennai."The most important thing is our dressing-room doesn't get too affected by today. We've got some players in our team touring this part of the world for the first time against a very strong Indian side. Just as last week when we won the first Test match and we had to work extremely hard for it, here we know we have to stand up and keep learning as well."England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who replaced Jos Buttler for the second Test, was a treat to watch behind the stumps and staying true to the reputation, he batted as a man possessed. However, he didn't find required support from the other end, resulting in a pretty dire situation and Thorpe admitted that a little bit of support here and there would've made things a lot easier."I thought Ben Foakes played very well, but we'd lost early wickets and that really set us back. We didn't get the partnerships going - the guys had plans, but they didn't happen for us."There were some good deliveries in there, some unfortunate dismissals and some good catches as well. We knew we were going to have some tough days here and it's incredibly challenging on that surface."Even in the first Test, we believed it was a good toss to win and this one was just as important. Pitches deteriorate as the game goes on and this one has gone a little bit quicker," he added.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Breaking Bhajju Pa’s wicket record at home is incredibly special, asserts Ravichandran Ashwin
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After breaking Harbhajan Singh's record of 265 home wickets, Ravichandran Ashwin has stated that people used to make fun of him that he used to bowl like him, and now breaking his record is incredibly special. Ashwin further asserted that picking a fifer in front of the Chennai crowd is special.India had a terrific day in the office, bunding England out for a lowly total of 134 runs to take a 195-run lead in the first innings. Ravichandran Ashwin was the wrecker in chief, picking another fifer to continue his love affair with Chepauk, where he has had a fifer in every Test he has played there barring one against England in 2016. In the process, he also got closer to 400 Test wickets and broke Harbhajan's record of 265 home Test wickets as well. On being asked about the same, Ashwin stated that he never thought of becoming an off-spinner in the first place and now reaching this position is incredibly special.“When I started watching Harbhajan Singh in the 2000s I was still wanting to be a batsman, never expected to be an off-spinner. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play for the Indian team. A lot of my teammates used to make fun of me, I used to bowl like Bhajju pa. From thereon, to come and break his record, it is incredibly special and extremely sorry, Bhajju pa," Ashwin said in the post-match press conference.Ashwin was further delighted by the fact that crowds made their presence felt in the game and it allowed Ashwin to soak in the energy from the ground he grew up playing in.“It’s wonderful to have crowd back in the first place. The Indian cricketing fans are also waiting to come and watch live sports. On the other hand, it is always special for me to play in front of my home ground and picking up a fifer. I would always cherish and in front of the Chennai crowd, even more special.”With so much talk about the nature of the pitch and the right kind of approach to negate the impact of the spinners, Ashwin stated that it depends on individual to individual. Giving an example of Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Joe Root, Ashwin stated that one needs to find scoring areas for themselves.“Look whatever works for you, Rohit has been sweeping really well, he has used his feet as well. Puji has used his feet really well. On the other hand, someone like Root likes sweeping. In the end, you just go with whatever works for you. Even for the quicks, you have to take the percentage shots. I think it’s about identifying the right kind of intent. Sometimes when you play on this kind of pitches, you are set for the game. You have to find scoring areas for yourself.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Fit-again Axar Patel added to Indian squad; Nadeem and Rahul Chahar withdrawn
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All-rounder Axar Patel, on Thursday, edged closer to making his Test debut for India as the selectors added the left-armer to the squad after he successfully passed a fitness test. With the addition of Axar to the main squad, the duo of Rahul Chahar and Shahbaz Nadeem have been withdrawn. Axar Patel is all set to make his Test debut in the second Test versus England, starting Saturday, as the BCCI confirmed the addition of the 27-year-old to the main squad after he passed a fitness test. Patel, who was picked in the squad for the first two Tests to cover up for Jadeja, picked up an injury on the morning of the first Test, due to which he was subsequently replaced in the squad by the duo of Rahul Chahar and Shahbaz Nadeem. However, with him now having recovered, both Chahar and Nadeem have been relegated to the ‘standbys’. “Axar Patel has recovered completely and is now available for selection for the 2nd Paytm Test in Chennai against England to be played from Saturday, 13th February. The all-rounder had complained of pain in his left knee and was ruled out of the first Test,” read a BCCI release on Thursday. “The All-India Senior Selection Committee have now withdrawn Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar from the main squad and added the duo back to the group of standby players.”The addition of Axar, coupled with the removal of both Chahar and Nadeem, almost makes it certain that the 27-year-old all-rounder will make his debut tomorrow. Who India will pick as the third spinner in the XI, however, remains to be seen. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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T Natarajan released from Tamil Nadu Vijay Hazare squad to stay ‘fresh’ for England ODIs and T20Is
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T Natarajan, who starred in the ODIs and T20Is versus Australia, has been released by the TNCA from Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Hazare squad upon request from the BCCI to not overburden him. Natarajan is instead now expected to head to the NCA in Bengaluru to prepare for the England ODIs and T20Is.Tamil Nadu have been dealt a minor blow in their pursuit of doing a limited-overs double in the 2020/21 domestic season as pace spearhead T Natarajan, who last week was named in the squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, has been released from the TN squad upon request from the BCCI. Natarajan was all set to feature in the Vijay Hazare Trophy prior to the 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs versus England, but the BCCI, earlier this week, intervened and requested the TNCA to release the 29-year-old.The Indian management are said to have been keen in keeping the left-arm pacer fresh, and thus the Sunrisers Hyderabad star will now instead head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru where he will gear up for the England tour."The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the team management want him fresh. It is in the national interest and so we are ready to oblige," Cricbuzz quoted TNCA secretary S Ramasamy as saying.  "We had named a replacement should he be not available and that issue has been sorted out. We have released Natarajan."Natarajan was a key part of the Tamil Nadu squad in the 2019/20 Vijay Hazare Trophy, in which the Dinesh Karthik-led side reached the final. The left-armer took 12 wickets in 11 innings at a miserly ER of 4.19 and was one of the major reasons behind a young Tamil Nadu side reaching the final of the competition. Having won the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last month without the services of Natarajan, the DK-led side would be aiming to replicate the same feat come the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which will commence on February 20.  Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Aware that I’m not a guaranteed starter for second Test, admits James Anderson
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James Anderson, who ripped through the Indian batting on Day 5, admitted that England’s rest and rotate policy could see him sit out the second Test but stated that he would love to play back-to-back games. Anderson further revealed that he consciously adopted a defensive approach in 1st innings.It is not often that a fast bowler can claim to be in the form of his life at 38, but James Anderson is an outlier. Having registered career-best subcontinent figures of 6/46 in Galle last month, the right-armer backed up the stellar showing with yet another match winning performance in Chennai. Using prodigious reverse-swing, the 38-year-old ripped through the Indian middle-order on the final day to finish with match figures of 5/63 and help England take a 1-0 lead. Anderson would have been a guaranteed starter for the next Test in any other country, but England’s ‘rest and rotate’ policy, coupled with his age, means that there is every possibility that the veteran could sit out the second Chennai Test starting in four days’ time. Speaking post the match on Tuesday, the 38-year-old expressed that he would love to also play the second Test, but admitted that he respects the rotation policy, which could see Stuart Broad be drafted into the side."I guess when a batsman gets in rhythm and form they just want to keep batting and it's the same for a bowler - you want to keep that going as much as possible. But I'm very aware we've got four Test matches in quick succession here and there will be a need to rest and rotate,” Anderson said on Tuesday, reported Cricbuzz.“I'm not presuming anything. I'll try and rest and recover from this game as best I can in the next day or two and get back in the nets and try and put my name in the hat for Saturday.”Anderson struck in just his third over in the second innings, but the 158-Test veteran went wicketless in his first 15 overs in the first innings, where he adopted a more conservative approach to help the other bowlers. This duality was also visible in Sri Lanka, where, in the absence of reverse swing, he adhered to bowling tight lines and lengths, testing the batsmen’s patience rather than trying to produce something out of the ordinary. The 38-year-old revealed that he understands he has to perform different roles and insisted that he is more than happy to be a team man."I thought we were really good. We assessed conditions really well, set the right fields, we tried to keep the run rate down to a reasonable level and I thought everyone stuck to their gameplan. For me that first innings I felt I was the bowler to keep the run rate down, try and drive things up and let the spinners and Jofra attack a little bit more. In England it might be the other way around, the spinners have to do the drying up job."I'm very aware that could be my job out here and then you can attack more in the second innings if you do get reverse swing. It's just trying to manage that throughout the game and pick the right moment to attack and you know when to sit back and defend a little bit," said Anderson.Indian seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, on Day 4, exploited patches on the wicket through reverse swing, but while they only managed to trap batsmen LBW, Anderson got stumps to cartwheel. The right-armer, however, revealed that he was originally only aiming to bowl a stump-to-stump line and the ‘bowled’ dismissals pretty much happened by accident."I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary from the plans we had. I was just lucky really with a couple that hit the bare patches, a bit of reverse as well, so we knew we just had to keep hitting those areas as much as possible and hopefully we'd get a couple to keep low or deviate. We got three or four throughout the day to do that so there was a bit of luck involved as well but I was happy with how it went.""To be honest I was more expecting an lbw, one to keep low or a caught midwicket with one that stuck in the pitch a little bit. But it's always nice to see the stumps cartwheeling out the ground. It doesn't happen very often at my age so I'm really happy with it. It tops off a really good performance throughout the five days - it was a really solid and complete performance from the whole team.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Incredible patience and vigour with renewed focus: how Jack Leach overcame the odds in Chennai
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Ahead of the series, the focus was of course on Root, on the English batting if they can withstand the Indian bowling unit. But as the past has suggested, always look out for the foreign spinner, especially if he’s left-handed and if it’s a series opener. Rishabh Pant steps out of his crease, Leach has found the ideal spot for the southpaw, who crashes the ball against the sponsors beyond the boundary rope. The riveting battle between two cricketers - at either end of 20s and a new stage of their career - handed contrasting opportunities. While Pant made the fullest use at the striker’s end, Leach made the headline for all the wrong reasons.Never has a spinner been banished as quickly as the left-armer has found himself and never has the Indian wicketkeeper shown mercy to a spinner. For one-tenth of a second, Leach had a different game plan but when the second it was completed, he found himself in a similar position - the Rishabh Pant effect, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Having craned his head for the major part of the day, Leach identified the struggles of bowling in India and quickly identified what the other spinners have gone through in the past against the youngster at the other end. Root and Leach were right - they had a definite plan for the youngster in place. But as it happened, it went awry and he ended up conceding 69 runs off his first seven overs in the country. There has never been a sweeter welcome in the country. "Having missed so much cricket you have to remember to cherish and enjoy these moments. It's my first time in India and to come here and bowl spin is the dream I had. So I just see it as a fantastic opportunity and one I want to enjoy,” Leach had said before the tour. While he took the needed risk, he failed. Yet he moved on, learnt from it and stepped up his game, indicating the presence of the tough mentality. But later on, in the scheme of things, the left-armer bowled snarlers and gems when the ball seemingly gripped. And when he struck, the ball dropped, while in reality, it bounced off the upper part of Ravichandran Ashwin’s blade. It was a dangerous partnership but not more dangerous than what the 29-year-old had just unearthed - the sweet spot of success in Chennai.In the span of two, he accounted for his second wicket - another victim of the vicious bounce. Having put under the pump for the most part of the third day, Leach had just found another incarnation of himself - reinventing his bowling - in the middle of the day. When England had a lead, aplenty that some deemed - there was the other task impending for the left-arm spinner. He had to open the bowling this time around. In the wee hours of the day, where you would have your premier bowlers in tandem, Root found an opportunity to rattle in Leach - a spinner - a ploy that was previously employed in Sri Lanka as well. But up against the English spinners were two of India’s best players of spin - Rohit and Gill. Two of whom, who have disregarded plenty of spinners during their cricketing career and interestingly banished several spinners in the process as well. With runs leaking, as if it were some faulty plumbing, England were flooded with problems - none really solving it at the same time. Having struggled against Gill in just the previous over, Leach was handed a reprieve when Rohit crossed ends. Flighted ball, enticing the batsman to get on the up and knock it straight back, the Somerset spinner threw a dime. It turned out, it wasn’t a dime but a diamond, as Rohit headed back to the dressing room. A pitch that made life hell for the left-arm spinner had overnight turned into his saviour, into his mentor and, moreover, handed him an opportunity to start afresh. England still needed nine wickets, they still had Cheteshwar Pujara - the man possessed by the batting gods at the crease. When spinners around the world have been bothered by his looks, his demeanour - Leach stood there, striking a chord with his inner mind and seemingly found the right word with the pitch. Pujara was pushed, pushed on the backfoot and then brought back forward with a flighted delivery that landed England the sucker blow against India. Flight, bounce, outside edge, slip cordon - four magical words suddenly brought about a new life in England, at a time where waking up was more than just a task. He suddenly got into a groove, where every delivery either whistled or nested past the bat and found the batsmen second-guessing. For all the pressure that he had created from one end, drying up opportunities, creating doubts in batsmen’s head, Anderson came into the attack to marvel at the audience. But there was Pant yet again, this time around, the battle was slightly more conservative - both of them didn’t want a piece of each other. As England stood, putting their full efforts in breaking the partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli, it was Leach again, who sucked them out of the crease, tempting a shot. With the bounce that he generated on the day, it required a monumental effort from the batting pair to keep it down, which Ashwin didn’t possess, as Leach got his third. It was only a matter of time before he turned three into four, four into six for the entire game, and put on a show. "They have a great batting lineup and I knew the pressure that comes with it. Happy to take some wickets and get the boys over the line," Leach said post-game. Having previously been well-known for his incredible 1*, Leach had almost found himself wanting for the worst record possible by an English spinner in these conditions before the fortune clock turned around. After being driven out of the attack, plundered ruthlessly by Rishabh Pant, Jack Leach found incredible vigour and immense patience, all with a renewed focus. At the same time, for a spinner to learn on the go - that too in India - Leach not just unearthed one of the most blessed abilities but doubled it up dangerously with his strength and vigour, which galored at Chepauk. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Jon Lewis defends England’s conservative approach; says they have ‘enough’ overs to win
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England bowling consultant Jon Lewis claimed that his side did not want to give India a sniff at victory but asserted that despite the conservative approach, the visitors have enough time to bowl the hosts out. Despite being in a commanding position, England only gave India 13 overs to bat on Day 4.When Ollie Pope got out just after Tea on Day 4, trying to attack, the general consensus was that England, with a lead of 370 at that point, were going to quickly get as many runs as they can and give India at least 20 overs to bat on Day 4. However, what instead followed was some flummoxing tactics by the visitors as the Three Lions stayed on the field for 18 more overs, adding just 38 runs. The English batsmen, post Pope’s dismissal, showed no intent and eventually the Indian batsmen needed to negate just 13 overs before stumps. England’s conservative tactic has pretty much taken victory off the table for India, but there exists a fear that, owing to their defensive approach, the visitors might have lent the hosts a hand in drawing the game. However, England’s bowling consultant Jon Lewis is not a strong believer of that opinion. Lewis asserted that the English bowlers have ‘enough time’ to bowl India out on Day 5 and stressed that it was imperative for the visitors to not give the hosts even the minutest chance of winning the contest."We were very comfortable with the amount of overs we wanted to bowl [on Monday night]. It will give us a bite with the second new ball if required [on Tuesday]. It's the first game of the series and while you want to get off to a really strong start you don't really want to give India a chance to win,” Lewis was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.India will need to score 381 runs in 90 overs tomorrow to clinch victory, and that is, even by their high standards, far fetched. Lewis reckoned that England’s approach with the bat on Day 4 will enable the skipper to set attacking fields on the final day, for there will be no concerns about leaking runs.  "Saying that, they have some fine players and you want attacking fielders around the bat for the whole of day five, especially for our spinners, so to get as many runs as we could and keep the rate high for them feels like our best chance to win the game.”England scored 178 runs in 46.3 overs in the second innings, and the approach of Dom Bess and Jos Buttler, in particular, was puzzling. The duo were keen to block deliveries - and not score - and they strung together a rather slow 35-run partnership which came off 13 overs. Lewis insisted that every English batsman was positive and asserted that the pitch was by no means ‘easy’ to bat on. "The guys were positive in the way they played and I don't think it is a straightforward pitch where you can go and be reckless."It's a good pitch but tricky so, against experienced Indians in India, against Ravichandran Ashwin bowling well on a turning wicket, it isn't always straightforward to smack the ball all over the place and accelerate. The guys just played the situation the best they could."England will need 9 wickets in 90 overs tomorrow to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.  Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Fearless Indian line-up can chase down the total on Day 5, asserts Ishant Sharma
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India’s Ishant Sharma claimed that the hosts won’t be thinking about a draw on the final day and asserted that the fearless batting line-up could chase down 420 if they get off to a good start. Ishant further revealed that the pitch started to assist spin, after behaving like a ‘road’ for 2 days.For the third time in as many Tests, India will head into the final day with a gigantic task at hand, but it could be said that awaiting them on Tuesday will be their most arduous task yet. On a crumbling Chennai wicket, the hosts have been set a mammoth 420 to chase down, and in 90 overs on the final day, they will have to score 381 runs to clinch victory.India had to score fewer runs on Day 5 in both Sydney and Brisbane and hence many believe a victory tomorrow is pretty much out of the equation. But not buying into that argument is Ishant Sharma. Ishant laid his faith in the batsmen and asserted that there is no reason why India cannot chase the target down if indeed they get off to a good start. “If we get a good start tomorrow, we can chase this down, because we have a batting line-up that is fearless and can chase this down, and it's important to look at 381 runs and not 9 wickets,” Ishant told Star Sports.The reason why the task is set to be arduous is because of the crumbling surface at Chepauk. Batting has become tougher with every passing day and the same was evident on Day 4, with a total of 15 wickets falling in the day. Ishant revealed that the wicket has started to offer turn for the spinners and insisted that it was no longer a road like it was on the first two days."On the first two days, the pitch was not assisting us and the spinners, it felt like we played on a road, but it started turning later on in Day 4 and it was a lot more responsive then," Ishant revealed.Day 4 was a special day in Ishant’s career as the 32-year-old got to the landmark of 300 Test wickets, becoming only the third Indian pacer - after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan - to achieve the feat. The right-armer, whose career has been on an upward curve in the last two years, described his journey as a ‘rollercoaster’."It's been quite a roller-coaster life. I've had a lot of experience, a lot of mentors who taught me how to bowl in the subcontinent and how to bowl abroad.”India ended Day 4 on 39/1, with Gill (15*) and Pujara (12*) still unbeaten.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Why the Chennai Test has shown that India’s ‘Jaddu-obsession’ is unhealthy
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England won the toss in the first Test of a tour they were expected to lose 4-0 and batted and batted and batted - for 190 overs. And scored 578. Understandably, the Chepauk curator has received plenty of flack, but we look at why the first innings exposed a bigger issue at hand for the hosts.What’s the issue?India’s obsession to field a Ravindra Jadeja clone. Ever since India realized that Ravindra Jadeja’s batting was reliable enough for him to warrant a spot in the Top 7, they’ve deployed a five-bowler strategy. The wicket-keeper, Jadeja and Ashwin - in no particular order - slot in at 6, 7 and 8 respectively, giving the side the flexibility to play three more specialist bowlers pertinent to the conditions. In the absence of Jadeja in the first Test in Chennai, the management looked to replicate the same tactic by installing a Jadeja prototype but, erm, let’s say it did not go down too well. The bowling, ultimately, lacked bite and the hosts ended up conceding 578, with the fourth and the fifth bowlers - Sundar and Nadeem - returning combined figures of 2/265 off 70 overs. The wicket, indisputably, was flat, but the 190 overs demands introspection over India’s tactic. How is the Jaddu-obsession detrimental to the team?Logically, one would think playing five bowlers in comparison to four is bound to yield the side better results with the ball, but that is a bland assumption devoid of key intangibles. What ultimately matters is if the bowlers picked possess the quality to derail the opposition. In the absence of Jadeja, India were keen to blood-in a like-for-like replacement, hence the eagerness to field one of Washington Sundar or Axar Patel. Both Sundar and Axar are finger-spinners capable of batting at #7, and both offer the three-dimensionality that Jadeja brings to the table. But while it is true that they bring the same package as Jadeja, there is daylight in the quality of the primary skill (bowling, in this case) between Sundar/Axar and Jadeja. The Saurashtra all-rounder is often celebrated for his three-dimensionality, but people tend to conveniently forget that he is, behind Ashwin, the second-best spinner across the past decade. Completely keeping his batting aside, Jadeja averages 24.32 with the ball, and this number comes down to a ridiculous 21.06 in 33 Test matches at home. Just to put into perspective how good these numbers are, Ashwin, the greatest off-spinner since Muralitharan, averages two more (23.14) at home. By selecting a ‘Jadeja prototype’ India are fitting someone in the side who does the same things, albeit much worse, but are simply not doing what they should be doing: picking a spinner who offers the same threat with the ball. Sundar’s outing in the first innings is a classic case in point - he filled the Jadeja-shaped void in the side in terms of the package, yet ultimately failed at his primary job, which is to threaten with the ball. He is by no means to blame for it, for he’s far away from being a Test-level spinner, but him being picked to serve as a third spinner means that he needs to provide a cutting edge with the ball; and not just serve ‘handy’ owing to his package. This would also have held true to Axar had he been picked. Axar, too, is light-years away from being amongst the Top 5 spinners in the country and was, as revealed by Kohli himself, only considered because of India’s Jaddu obsession. This is not to deviate from the fact that India ultimately found themselves in the position they did because of the lacklustre display of the designated second spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem. Yet these kinds of situations are precisely why you pick a fifth bowler (in this case, a third spinner) - to make up even if one of the premier bowlers have an off-game. Nadeem had a performance to forget, yes, but it was exacerbated by the fact that Sundar was incapable of filling-in and masking it, ultimately defeating the purpose of having a fifth bowler. “This is just the three-spinners scenario; a Jadeja-prototype can still play if India field three pacers.”Unless the team plays in a SENA-like wicket which is a paradise for pacers, this statement won’t hold true. India, particularly of late, have been drifting towards accommodating three seamers at home but this does not change the fact that the key to success lies in the hands of the spinners. From January 1, 2015 to up until the start of the ongoing Test, Indian spinners had taken almost twice as many wickets (330) as the pacers (166) in home games. This emphasizes the importance of the role the second spinner has to play, even in a three-man pace attack.  A Jadeja-prototype might be a flexible option but that player will not be of great use to the side unless he is as good as Jadeja himself with the ball. Does it mean India should just pick their five best bowlers? This can, of course, always be experimented with, but it will leave the side with a worryingly long tail. For instance, as soon as Axar injured himself, India could have gone ahead with Kuldeep, Nadeem and Ashwin as their three spinners but that would have left them with no half-decent batsman after Pant. Ashwin had a wild day out in Sydney but in his last 17 Tests at home, he averages 11.93 with the bat with no fifty-plus scores. Hence they had to make a compromise, and it came in the form of them leaving out Kuldeep (you could argue the Nadeem selection also had some Jaddu-obsession attached to it, for he is also a left-armer). So, what is the solution?Simple: in the absence of Jadeja, India either need to revert back to a four-bowler + 1 batting all-rounder strategy or ensure that, barring Ashwin, the second spinner they pick is the best spinner at their disposal, treating the No.7 slot as an all-rounder. In Chennai, Kuldeep, despite being a bigger threat than Nadeem, was overlooked because he turned the ball the same way as both Ashwin and the Jaddu prototype Sundar; as it turned out, Sundar and Nadeem’s lack of dexterity made the decision look ridiculous. Cracks can be papered over on turning tracks but, as was the case in the first two days of Chennai, on flat wickets it will be skill - and not the package - which will help punch holes in the heart of the opposition. Particularly with India completely reverting to preparing ‘we-will-outbat-you’ kind of flat wickets, it would become increasingly difficult for the side to bowl quality oppositions out at home with just one world-class spinner.  A four-bowler + 1 batting all-rounder (who here replaces the Jaddu prototype) strategy is less-ideal but it would, nevertheless, solve any kind of concern with regards to a long tail and enable the skipper to field the second spinner simply based on merit, not worrying about the individual’s other credentials. With Pandya unfit to bowl and with Vihari nursing an injury, though, this option, one imagines, would not be feasible for the side in the last three Tests. Why the Jaddu-obsession is unhealthy in the long run For more than one reason, India’s obsession with finding the perfect like-for-like replacement for Jadeja is unhealthy. One, as previously discussed, is the compromise in the drop in quality of bowling but secondly, and most importantly, the long-term ramifications it could have on the kind of expectations the management have from spinners. The selections of Sundar and Axar now, and Jayant Yadav previously, are clear indications of the management’s affinity for slower bowlers who can contribute with the bat (largely because most of the seamers can’t hold the willow). “Bowling combination we’ll try to give us as many options as possible, along with guys having the ability to contribute with the bat. That’s been the pattern for success for us in home conditions over the last few years and that continues to be the case this time around as well. The combination we’ve played in the past where guys can bowl and bat is something that will be at the forefront of our plans,” Kohli had said a day before the commencement of the first Test.Grooming all-rounders is healthy but to discard spinners ‘only’ because they cannot contribute with the bat is preposterous.India, currently, have as many as two back-ups for Jadeja, but are at a point where they have little clue as to who their best spinner apart from Ashwin and Jadeja is. Kuldeep was supposed to be the answer but his progress has stalled, and this has a lot to do with the fact that he continues to be overlooked simply because he does not tick other boxes unrelated to his bowling. If India are to not find themselves in a dire situation post the Jaddu-Ash era, they need to start investing in their best spinners. And by investing, it means not only identifying who those players are, but giving them the opportunity to develop and learn their trade while the big fishes are still around, and not just throwing them in the deep end when the time arrives. As things stand, they are not doing it, and it could have long term consequences.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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I, J and K stands in Chepauk to be re-opened for second Test; tickets to be sold on Monday
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The I, J and K stands at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, which were sealed owing to ‘illegal construction’, will be opened for seating for the first time in 8 years in India’s second Test against England. The tickets for the second Test are set to go live on Monday on PayTm and Insider.A familiar sight television viewers have been accustomed to in games happening at M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai are the ‘sealed’ stands, which often made it look as if the fans did not bother to turn up. Owing to ‘illegal construction’, the Supreme Court of India, in 2013, ordered the closing of the three stands - which can combinedly hold a total of 12,000 spectators - and for the past 8 years, Chepauk has had to contend with hosting fans only in stands other than I, J and K. That won’t be the case come the second Test between India and England in Chennai as it has been confirmed that the three sealed stands will be reopened for seating, with the TNCA, after a eight-year legal tussle, getting clearance to open the once-forbidden area. The Chepauk will host fans at a 50% capacity for the second Test and stands I, J and K are all set to host spectators for the first time in 8 years.The second Test will be played between February 13 and 17, and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Secretary R S Ramasaamy has revealed that upto 15,000 tickets will be sold to the fans. "Around 15,000 tickets will be sold and they will be available online only," Ramasaamy was quoted as saying by Sportstar.The tickets, which as revealed will be available exclusively online, are expected to be sold on www.paytm.com & www. insider.in, Paytm App and Paytm Insider App from Monday 10 am. No tickets, according to a TNCA release, would be sold via Counters or Box Office.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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