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England's decision to play just four specialist batsmen in the fourth Test might backfire

Sachin Arora
ANALYST
Feature
5.30K   //    29 Aug 2018, 23:33 IST

England announced their squad for the fourth test, which consists of the following players:

Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, James Anderson, Stuart Broad.

England will play with only four specialist batsmen namely Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. To play with just four specialist batsmen is a brave decision under any circumstances, But, it is even more courageous considering the performance of the English top order over the last three tests against India.

England v India: Specsavers 1st Test - Day Two
Alistair Cook getting bowled by Ashwin

Alastair Cook is struggling big time against India, he has not scored even a single fifty in the five innings played by him in the series so far. There were talks about dropping Cook, but, it seems that England captain Joe Root has a lot of faith in the veteran. It remains to be seen if his faith pays any dividend during the fourth test, otherwise, people might call it a blunder.

Keaton Jennings has looked like an average batsman from every angle. He has a tendency of throwing away his wicket after settling in at the crease, which shows that the youngster needs to work on his temperament.

Joe Root, in spite of getting starts in almost every innings, has not been able to hit a single century. His lean run leaves English middle order in a precarious situation almost every time.

Johnny Bairstow is the only English batsman who has looked solid every time he has walked in. He is easily the most consistent English batsman of this series so far.

The decision to drop Pope for Moeen Ali doesn't seem to be a smart move. This will dent the confidence of young Olie Pope, who, in spite of looking good during his brief stints at the crease is dropped after just two tests. He deserves a longer rope.

On the other hand, Moeen Ali has not set the world on fire with his batting in Test matches. He averages a modest 32.4 in 50 Test matches with just 5 centuries.

With England playing as many as three all-rounders, their side looks thin on the batting front. As we have seen earlier in the series, it is the batting which has let both the teams down on multiple occasions. English team seems to have further weakened an already struggling aspect of their game.

How smart playing three all-rounders will prove, we shall get to know during the next five days. But, at the moment it seems to be a decision, which is more courageous than sensible.


 

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Sachin Arora
ANALYST
a chartered accountant, a theatre actor and a former club cricketer who still believes that test cricket is the only form of cricket which will survive the test of time. A keen follower of other sports and Indian athletes. A movie buff and an ardent fan of anybody who acts well which I believe is a rare commodity.
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