England’s Test Series Loss: Lessons to Learn

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This is the first Test series loss for England since Brendon McCullum took over the head coaching role….reports Asian Lite News

Former India captain and ex- head coach Anil Kumble has urged England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum to take a hard look at themselves after suffering a series loss against India adding that Test cricket is about playing according to situations.

India beat England by five wickets in Ranchi on Monday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the 5-Test series, which marked India’s 17th consecutive Test series win at home (the most by any country).

This is the first Test series loss for England since Brendon McCullum took over the head coaching role.

While giving his take on whether Bazball did not serve England well in the series, Kumble highlighted that playing in India and beating India here was never going to be easy.

“The challenge when England came here was obvious. Bazball or whatever ball you want to call it, playing in India and beating India here was never going to be easy. India have never lost a series at home in the last decade. They (England) knew that they had to be different but their bowling attack wasn’t something that they believed would be able to penetrate India’s batting line-up,” Kumble said on Jio Cinema.

“England’s senior batters including Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, other than the Ranchi Test, didn’t contribute consistently. There were some key moments that they grabbed on a couple of occasions but other key moments they let go. It’s all nice to say that ‘this is the way I bat’, but you can’t bat like that all the time. You have to hold back.

“In Test match cricket, that’s what it is. It’s about situations and that’s what Root did in this (Ranchi) match. No wonder he was successful, something that England will have to discuss and look at,” he added.

The former coach also shared his views on the pitch in Ranchi while adding that pitch conditions, DRS calls after affecting team’s mindset that ultimate give advantage to the opposition.

“The pitch certainly got slower. But the moment you start thinking about the pitch, about conditions, about DRS or things that are not in your control, it certainly starts affecting your mindsets and that’s something the opposition will pick on,” said Kumble.

McCullum Backs Young Spinners

England head coach Brendon McCullum has suggested to the top administrators of English County Clubs to give opportunities to Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley after the young spinners performed admirably during the Test series in India despite their inexperience.

For England to build on a breakthrough tour of India, McCullum had given opportunities to Bashir, 20, and Hartley, 24, despite both of them having modest records and little experience.

The duo have been England’s bright spots in a series, that they have lost 1-3 with the fifth and final Test yet to be played. Both have claimed their first-ever five-wicket hauls in a Test match. Bashir’s eight wickets for 198 in Ranchi increased his England Test wicket tally (12 in two games) to surpass his first-class wicket tally (10 in six games).

Considering their performance so far, McCullum pleaded with the administrators of County Cricket clubs to give the rookie spinners more opportunities because neither Bashir nor Hartley are first-choice spinners for their teams. Bashir’s injured teammate Jack Leach, who is set to undergo surgery this week to treat a knee injury, is the first-choice spinner at Somerset while Hartley’s club Lancashire has recently signed Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.

Though McCullum said he understood why Lancashire opted for Lyon, he still urged the clubs to give more opportunities to young England spinners. “It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level,” McCullum was quoted as saying by the English media.

“There’s a very real possibility that might be the case, but without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their agendas as well. When you see performances like we have out of those two bowlers throughout the series, I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket,” McCullum said.

The England head coach said playing more matches will help the spinners improve their skills.

“It would be nice to think they’d get plenty of opportunities so that they can improve at a quicker rate. Whether those opportunities are with counties or with England, I think we’ve just got to keep trying to get cricket into them. Whatever opportunity we can, we’ll try and give it to them. Because there are two guys there more than good enough for international cricket. They’re also tough characters.

“What you can’t tell from the outside of a man’s body is the size of their heart – and we’ve seen both of them have big hearts and they’re up for international cricket. It doesn’t get any harder than it is right now. They’ve both stood up and performed, so we’ve just to keep giving both of them chances,” McCullum added.

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