Haryana v England XI, Ahmedabad, 4th day

Spin 'message' hampers England preparation

George Dobell in Ahmedabad

November 11, 2012

Comments: 82 | Text size: A | A

Nick Compton and Alastair Cook run during their 166-run stand, Haryana v England XI, 1st day, Ahmedabad, November 8, 2012
Alastair Cook said England's batsmen would have preferred to face more spin bowling in the warm-up matches © Getty Images

Alastair Cook admitted he wished that England had been confronted with more spin bowling as they completed their warm-up games ahead of the first Test of the series against India. While England's captain declared himself satisfied with his team's preparations, he did suggest that "a message" had been conveyed to the opposition to ensure the tourists were denied meaningful exposure to spin bowling ahead of the series.

A draw against Haryana meant England had drawn all three of their warm-up matches. But, although every batsman in England's top-order has enjoyed a lengthy innings at some stage, Cook knows that such success may prove deceptive. Some of the opposition has been surprisingly modest.

The absence of spin has been particularly noticeable. Fewer than 11% of the overs bowled against England in the second innings of the three matches has come from spinners and, arguably, none of it has come from what might be described as a quality spinner. It was typical that, in England's second innings against Haryana Amit Misha, the legspinner who has played 13 Tests for India, did not deliver a single ball. It means that England, with a less than illustrious record against top-quality spin bowling in recent times, will go into a series in which spin is expected to play a major role, having had very little meaningful practise against it.

"Clearly we can't control the standard of the opposition," Cook said. "We would have liked to have faced more spin in the matches but that hasn't happened. If anyone has been watching our training sessions while these games have been going on, we've had some good spinners bowling to us in the nets. We'd rather them in the middle but they've been turning out there and all the lads have been putting in some really good practice.

"I don't know who it has come from but clearly there's been a message of some sort. Obviously we've had Amit Mishra missing here. I don't know if he was injured or not but he didn't bowl that many overs, so clearly there's been a message of some kind."

England could have tried to force the win against Haryana. Not only did they decline to enforce the follow-on, but they agreed to an early finish when they had a minimum of 10 more overs to take only four more wickets. Instead, though, Cook opted to rest his bowlers in case they were required on Thursday.

"Clearly we would have liked to have won a game but sometimes common sense has to be used," he said. "There's no point busting a gut today on a very flat wicket with a Test match just around the corner and with [the condition of] our fast bowlers at the moment, especially with a few injury concerns as well."

"The next few days are vital for [Broad and Finn] and we must go into the first Test with a fully fit attack. They have to be 100%" Alastair Cook

Cook's caution was understandable. While Steven Finn and Stuart Broad both returned to bowling in practice, there are still question marks over the availability of both of them. Cook is adamant that they will not be selected if there are any doubts over their fitness. Indeed, the fact that there are doubts over both of them renders the decision even more tricky for England.

"It's great to see them back bowling," Cook said. "The next few days are vital for them and we must go into that game with a fully fit attack. They have to be 100%. You've seen how hot it is out here and how flat the wickets are. They won't be in the ideal state, the preparation period hasn't quite gone right with those two not playing and getting overs under their belts. We're going to have to see over the next few days and make a decision on that, but clearly we've got to be very careful. In an ideal world, they'd certainly have liked to have more match bowling.

"But what we do know is that they're quality performers. Stuart, especially, has got a lot of experience. He knows what he's doing and he knows when his body is right. We're going to have to assess these guys over the next 24 hours and then make a decision. As a captain, you'd want them to have more match practice but they are world-class bowlers. It would be great if they were fully fit and had some overs under their belt but they haven't."

The performance of Tim Bresnan in Haryana's second innings may have made England's decision a little easier. Bresnan bowled with good control, decent pace and, along with Stuart Meaker, gained enough reverse swing to trouble all the batsmen. His 2 for 13 took his tally to nine wickets in two tour matches.

"In the last session, with the reversing ball, all three of them - Bresnan, Graham Onions and Meaker - showed good control, which is encouraging," Cook said. "We've got six bowlers out here fully fit and on a tough tour like this I'm sure we're going to need that. Tim Bresnan has been an integral part of our attack for last couple of years and he's certainly done himself no harm in this game."

Cook was also encouraged by the news that Graeme Swann returning to India having flown back to the UK due to a family illness. "All the reports have been good and he is coming back on Monday. That's fantastic for us and it's fantastic that all's well at home as well. He's an experienced campaigner and he knows what's he doing. I have no doubts or concerns about Swanny."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Shan156 on (November 12, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

@dariuscorny, no that's not what we are claiming. India is the host country and they are welcome to prepare dustbowls but please don't claim that it is a tit-for-tat for the 'green tops' that England prepared. They did not. The tracks in England were quite good for batting as Cook, KP, and Bell proved with their double hundreds. India were suffering a hangover from their WC win, some players were in the twilight of their careers, and they were also missing a few key players due to injuries. However, the most important reason was that England played better cricket. Most of us readily admitted that we were thoroughly outplayed by Pakistan and SA and have no excuses for the defeat other than the fact that the opposition was way better than us. Why is it too hard for Indian fans to accept that England outplayed India? TBH, I see some sensible messages from Indian fans admitting to the same. And, lastly, I do agree that watching cricket against qlty spin is as good as battle against pace.

Posted by Chris_P on (November 12, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

@malkajgiri. Well said. Absolutely spot on.

Posted by Chris_P on (November 12, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

@aby_prasad. Thanks mate. I haven't got issues with passionate supporters, but I do have a problem with people who knock champions, champion teams or just pour out negative, ill informed comments. All the best to your team in the coming series, as long as the matches are competitive & standard high, I simply enjoy test match cricket.

Posted by dariuscorny on (November 12, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

some Eng fans here are claiming that pitches used last year against IND were flat and they beat IND there with ease,its as if that IND has always been beaten there on flat tracks and Eng looses here on rank turners,well it suggests Eng are champs and the world needs mine fields to dessimate them,but no human effort can dismantle them......they hv been shown good when opposition is rebuilding or ageing(not anything else)............

Posted by 402_Navata_Complex on (November 12, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

As an Indian cricket supporter I hate to admit that there is no need for the England team to panic. Our batting line up is not comfortable playing against the likes of Bresnan, Broad, Meaker, Finn and Anderson - who are quality bowlers. This definitely opens up the series. Hopefully we get to see some good, quality test cricket after all the T20/IPL/ODI overdose.

Posted by challagalla on (November 12, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

@cricindia4life, rightly said. Its wrong to deny a visiting side proper practice. It reflects poorly on the host and maybe even portrays desperation of the host to win at any cost. Coming to the Brits , they have to accept that they are poor tourists to the Asian countires and for many years their best players never bothered to come to Asia. Remember , Tony Lewis captaining England on debut in India in 1972. This team had many players just breaking into the English team and went on to play a sterling role for their country [ Fletcher, Tony Greg, Chris Old, Dennis Amis and another Dennis I forget] . The point I am making is, touring Asia is tough, [ heat, dust, humidity , spinning tops, food etc ]but is cricket not about conquering the conditions [ and the demons in your mind ] and coming on top. The true test of a great team is in winning every where consistently . England can lay claim to be a very good team if they win here and will justify their ranking.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 12, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

@Paul Rone-Clarke: Utter drivel. It indeed is an amusing sight to see batsmen with bamboozled expressions on their faces and struggling against proper spin bowlers (not the pretenders who go around as spinners that you get in county cricket) with close-in fielders surrounding the batsmen. And you do realise that at least you are one of the 40 posters who is interested in this series to come and post a comment? As usual your favourite fruit is sour grapes!

Posted by Bruisers on (November 12, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

@big_al_81 - If Indian spinners are not world-class, its a shame that the English batting lineup crumbled to a modest total of 80 against even more 'non-world-class' spinners like Chawla and Harbhajan in the recently concluded WT20. (Mind you, they were 60/9 at one stage xD)

Posted by Arrow011 on (November 12, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

There is & was only 1 team in the cricketing fraternity that goes allout to win every match & that is Australia. All other teams are contended with a draw giving some excuse or the other especially in foreign conditions.

Posted by Venkat_Gowrishankar on (November 12, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

@Paul Rone-Clarke :Utter nonsense. The battles that spin bowlers create with 6 close in fielders and the batsmen trying to find a way out of the strangehold is an entertaining sight. You might be of the opinion that Marshall migth have provided the pace and fizz..no doubts, but trott or cook is no Richards or Clive Lloyd by a long mile. Atleast India have a few "entertaining" players.Its an absolute Yawn minus KP to watch England bat.

Posted by cricindia4life on (November 12, 2012, 14:07 GMT)

Look, I'm all for having pitches tailor-made to suit the home team. That is what test cricket is about. But to deny the visiting team quality practice matches is pathetic. I don't care who or where India plays in their warm-up matches overseas. Two wrongs don't make a right. When teams visit India, they should be given as much practice against the best available teams/players other than the national side members. The English team had the common sense to come to India so far in advance to show that they are eager to get used to the conditions and provide a fierce contest... By denying them meaningful practice, the BCCI has set a very dangerous precedent.

Also, kudos to Cook for down-playing this "message". I could easily imagine someone like Ponting creating a lot moe fuss about it.

Posted by ViperIX on (November 12, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

@ All my fellow Indians, pls stop cribbing and stop recalling India's tour last year. We shud accept that we played pathetic cricket and were whitewashed on definitely NOT green tops. So, no point in denying the facts and arguing on the same. Now, coming to my English friends, you also need to accept that England have never proved(apart from likes of Cook and KP) that they CAN play spin and hence, so much of drama surrounding this. So, lets the matches begin, and whatever needs to be proved would be proved on-field. Cheers.

Posted by Venkat_Gowrishankar on (November 12, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

I dont get it. Why do England complain of being deprved of "Quality" spin. Dont they get to face Monty and Swann in the Nets?. Are they not quality?.

Posted by 100_rabh on (November 12, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

Playing no quality spinners (if there are any!) in these tour matches was just baffling. Wrong decision morally and strategically. You will see one or two of the top 6 poms scoring a big hundred in the 1st innings of the opening match. Imagine Eng/Aussies/Saffas playing 3-4 spinners with 1 c grade seamer in their practice game teams against India and reactions from us Indians here!

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

@jmcilhinney Swann's 9 wkts. were mostly made up of Raina and tailenders, with SRT once and Dravid's dubious dismissal. SRT got some runs still, but you missed Mishra spanking Swann in both innings and nearly getting a 100? his avg. is still 40 against India. Yuvraj has handled Swann very well and he is not reputed for that unlike Swann vs lefties. Yes, India were pathetic and I agree Indians don't admit it.

Posted by robheinen on (November 12, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

A good pitch is the pitch you have to play on...

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

@kingcobra85 on (November 12 2012, 05:40 AM GMT), as many others do, I believe that a big factor in England's troubles against spin is their psychology. English batsmen as a group will never be the best players of spin because the typical conditions in England are not as conducive to spin as some other places and therefore fewer players attempt spin bowling and fewer get good at it. That said, I believe that England's approach to playing spin was all wrong in UAE. They started the same way in SL and only when they changed their approach did their results improve. If England bat positively against spin in India then they can perform much better than they did against Pakistan. Part of these warmup games would have been to cement that attitude and carry it into the Tests. The BCCI has no responsibility to go out of their way to help England do that but it's that they went deliberately out of their way to hinder it that is an issue to me, to Cook and to many others.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

@satish619chandar on (November 12 2012, 09:50 AM GMT), Swann took 9 wickets at the Oval. If India are such good players of spin and there was no spin in England then how did Swann take almost half the wickets and England win by an innings? I guess there are a lot of India fans who will simply never admit, even to themselves, that India lost in England simply because they didn't play well enough. Yes, the conditions were different but that's to be expected. If they thought it was going to be a problem then they should have organised their tour better. They got all the preparation they asked for and the conditions were typically English, not rigged to be anti-Indian. Before anyone brings it up, I'm quite prepared to admit that England's poor showing in ODIs in India and Tests in UAE were as a result of their own short-comings.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 12, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

@jmcilhinney : A good test pitch is the one which will aid any kind of bowling. If a pitch assists pace bowling and conditions are favorable too, the match never goes to final day. Spinning in final day is not going to aid itself most times. In 3 tests in England, it never spun. How can it be expected to return the favor from other teams?

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (November 12, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

@mikey76,kp,cook got big hundreds because they were playing at home and they know their conditions pretty well.....in 2008 when eng toured ind,we chased 387 easily on a wicket that was turning square as our batsmen play well on turning pitch.....ind played on green tops last year when they toured eng and they cudn't adjust to that conditions....

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

@Percy_Fender on (November 12 2012, 05:08 AM GMT), Somerset are one of the strongest county sides in England and that was not significantly weakened team that played India in their warmup in 2011. As for the amount of time and the number of warmups India played, that was 100% down to the BCCI. They only asked for one warmup so they only got one warmup. If they'd asked for more they would have got more. Everyone talking about how it's OK for England to have to play weak Ranji teams because England trot out weak counties for visiting teams, that's not really the issue. Haryana had a good spinner and he hardly bowled. India A, which should be the second best squad in India, didn't even have a frontline spinner. If India A were playing a serious game to win, would any of you India fans have been happy with the linup that played England? I very much doubt it. Check the Lions team that played WI in a warmup in England this year for an example of what's appropriate.

Posted by sharidas on (November 12, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

So much of fuss over small things. This has become standard in International Cricket. When a team tours overseas,one cannot expect the conditions to be the same.If all the pitches in the world were identical, where would the fun be. What would be next ? Airconditioned or heated grounds? It will be nice watching the contest as it unfolds, rather than find excuses around every corner. I mean this for all teams.Whatever said and done, quality will come up tops.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Only 40 odd comments a day after this article was published. I think that goes to show the lack of interest their is in this series. Witrh most games starting a couple of hours before breakfast on working days in the UK - no-one other than the unemployed will be watching or listening to these matches at all. Then there is the tedious boredom of watching over after over of spin. While a bit here and there is ok, for those of us brought up watching Marshall, Holding Garner and Croft whizz it past the England batsmans noses straight up - then this "trial by boredom" will likely be too much for the public never mind the players. Then their Ravi Shastri's jingoistic rants. Thank god theirs some rugby on and the Aussie Vs SA test series. Test series in India are the very DULLEST of spectacles, always have been - probably always will be.

Posted by Eclipse0990 on (November 12, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Ohh well well. This ain't a parliament. Come on people. There will be no end to this discussion ever. Both sides are at fault here and not just one. Indian Fans. Please stop. If Indian Batsmen can't play as good as on green wickets as on the spinning tracks, they don't deserve to be number 1. And 8-0 shows it. So lets just wait here for the test matches to begin and see if its our overall quality that has gone down or its our weakness to play quality fast bowling. As far as English fans are concerned, you say swann is a better spinner than Indians currently have. So why the need to have practice against "mediocre" Indian spinners? And i remember the incident where Flower was against Panesar bowling to tendulkar in nets. These are all just mind games. No batsman who is playing on an international level deserves to be there if he is weak against any playing condition or type of bowling. This goes for both English and Indian sides. So please. Calm down and just enjoy what's ahead. :)

Posted by Suri_Singhrai on (November 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

Not only did England not get any practice against quality spin, but had a warm up match against Haryana (one of the poorest State teams in India).

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

All India have done is played England's best batsmen in. What nonsense, if they had undermined their confidence with some decent spin in the warm ups then that would help them in the test series. As it is ENgland are now used to the pace and bounce of Indian wickets. Bad mistake.

Posted by pirki on (November 12, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Pirki is Back. Big blunder by Indian administrators. why pakistan did well against Englang earlier, they dented the english player's confidence with quality leg spin bowling of yasir shah and left arm spin of reza hasan. Also they were test by lright arm off spin of Mohammad Nobi of afghanistan in the tour match consisting of affilaites. since those two matches saeed ajmal and abdurrahman did the rest. but India low on confidence and now england high on confidence will dictate the term in this series.

Posted by paps123 on (November 12, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Pitches in England for India's test series we re certainly not green tops. We as Indians would do a great dis service to good test match pitches by calling them Green tops. Sri Lanka toured before India that summer in April and pitches were lot more conducive to seamers then. And whatever poor pitches India make, England are not going to lose 4-0 still. We need to grow up and think how much priority our Board gives to test cricket, how many practice matches England arranged and how many we played in England before playing test matches.Besides, not playing spinners in practice matches is stooping too low on our part.

Posted by aby_prasad on (November 12, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

@mikey76 , Chris P ,jmcilhinney and others.,,, OKAY, for the first time cos you told us many times, i went and checked the stats,history of that series again. I was under the same impression as many of us Indians were., that the pitches last time in England were extra green, the tactic used by England for warm up when indians visited etc. Boy was i wrong!!! And yes i get it, i get it completely now, we did play horribly bad and thats it, theres nothing else to it! In fact i guess its because it was a shocker after a world beating stretch for India, that we found it too hard to believe a 4-0 result and so we are/were fixated on the green thingy! My fellow Indians, we have to admit, we just performed disastrously, thats all. jmcilhiney, a very professional outlook on diff pitches,not undermining both english/indian conditions!,unlike some other westerners and other indian fans. cheers! same with Soverberry2!

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 12, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

I do agree that England were not offered quality spin bowlers to face in the practice games. But what do they offer to the visitors? The frontline pacers from their county team or second XI bowlers? There are always two kinds of warm ups provided to any visiting teams. 1. With a strong team and put them on the back foot straight away. 2. Give them weak team and don't allow them good workout. This is even lesser than second one. But this is how things go if you are from rival teams.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

Am I the only who thinks that India took this matter too far now? I mean come on guys! give England a break! The series has not even started and yet some Indian fans are commenting like they have already won it! We managed to whitewash the English men earlier this year in UAE because we had a positive attitude and respect for the opposition unlike the Indian selectors and (majority) of the fans. I think this series will end up 2-1 in England's favour or 1-0 in India's or a 2-2 draw. Doesn't look like a whitewash to me. Would be very surprised if India manages to do that.

Posted by UAETigers on (November 12, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

@GRVJPR ...when you have seen reverse swing and too crushing yorkers from Indian bowlers?? I am sure India is going to win this series by atleast 3-0 margin but it will be because of their spin attach, spinning tracks and weak english batting against good spin bowlers!!!

Posted by kingcobra85 on (November 12, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

Cook is not captain material if he thinks that three weeks of playing spin will improve his teams ability against SPIN.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

@ jmcilhinney : I liked your comment pal. yes, a test wicket should exist for 5 days. Thats when we get to see too many interesting things happening. Normally due to the heat, the pitch breaks and also the roughs that are created by the bowlers assists the spinners. I dont think India would be preparing a wicket that turns on the first day itself. If thats the case, then the selectors wouldnt have taken Ishant or Zaheer into the 15 member squad. Instead they would selected 1 more batsman or a spinner.

Its just a mind game the selectors & media are playing here. Even if you are not afraid of the spin, by doing all these it would just create pressure for some one who is not used to quality spin bowling. Which is a good thing for the home team. Except KP & cook, the rest will have to really work hard.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 12, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

I am surprised that Cook has felt that the BCCI has not ensured a properly laid out preparatory camp. That this is despite a number of net bowlers bowling to them at the nets is what makes it even more so. When India went to England last year,a day or so after returning from West Indies, the weather was cold and rainy. They had a match against a virtual Somerset's B team. Andrew Staruss came in to get his own practice and scored a hundred. But the Indians hardly settled down. It was so unlike in the past when a trip to England meant starting out on Grace Road against Worcestershire,then it would be Leicestershire and Norhamtonshire and the MCC at Lord's.The ECB used to be very fair.But as Bob Dylan sang ' the times are a changing' even the they have thrown tradition out of the window.With England going up the ICC ladder, they too ensure like Australia that visiting teams are barely allowed to settle down.Winning is all important. So Alistair should just be happy with what he has got.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

India is no more a test team. It was good team in 90s and one of the best in first decade of this century. But, I'm afraid at the moment they're short of good test match players, particularly batsmen. It's not as much that Indian bowling is pathetic but, they've been better than their batsmen in last 2 years. Looks like they'd have a hard time winning against any big team in next few years unless they find test match players.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

India have shown tremendous hospitality here. If you guys watched these matches keenly, Yuvraj Singh took 5 wickets in the first match. Imagine if India would have unleashed Murali Kartik/ Ramesh Powar or even someone like Shadab Jakati, these whiners would have been crying foul about the wickets or the heat or the pitch. That is why I love the South Africans,win or lose, they are always gracious and that is why they have a chance to be "Popular Champions". On the other hand, these Poms can only do well when conditions favour them.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Opportunity lost in my opinion. While i dont believe that England have any moral high ground, i would have loved to see this English side collapse in a heap to a strong spin line up on the last match prior to the Test to destroy their confidence. That would have been the way to welcome them to the test series.

Posted by Rogerunionjack on (November 12, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

@ TheRightGame I certainly don't come across any of our guys whining about the weather, food, etc. We did the best we could in the warmups given the circumstances and your tactics, which of course you were perfectly entitled to. The advantage is certainly with you guys. We need to be patient and concentrate, also Kohli will be the key, we need to get him early to have a chance.

Posted by CricketFanIndUS on (November 12, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

England players have shown the right approach and have taken the practice matches seriously. They have practiced in Indian weather conditions and on Indian pitches. I feel they will do much better than India did in 2011, because of the approach and how seriously they are taking the series. Also discipline, control and patience are vital in test cricket and they have an edge in these. Yes, the practice matches should have included more and better spin bowling. I feel the Indian team (coach and administration included) would not have done this without experiencing something that made them feel like they were not given the right preparation in England. This is going to be a close and very interesting series. Let us just enjoy the cricket.

Posted by xrocks on (November 12, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

Cook should know it's not Mishra's priority to bowl more to the English in a warm up match but to bowl more and well in the Ranji's as the captain of Haryana. When Giles can bowl an enitre series outside legstump, wat's wrong in denying an opposition to face spin in warm up matches here.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

@Sundaresh R Iyer on (November 12 2012, 00:04 AM GMT), like so many of your Indian brethren, you really don't know what a green wicket is. If you want to see green, check out what the County Championship was played on early this last summer, when it barely stopped raining. What India played on were typical English Test wickets. The whole "greentop" thing is just an excuse used by those who can't accept that India just played badly. English players and fans have no issue with the fact that pitches help spin more in the subcontinent. With the climate and soil it is to be expected and not an issue. What is an issue is pitches prepared specifically to spin a lot from early in a Test match. Ideally, a Test wicket should help fast bowlers early, be easiest to bat on in the middle and then help spin later on. Anything that still seams a lot on day 5 or spins a lot on day 1 is a poor wicket.

Posted by TheRightGame on (November 12, 2012, 2:35 GMT)

I hear some whining. Oh, the English are here already!! Well the season of whining starts, from the weather, to the quality of the opposition to the food.

Posted by solankibhavesh on (November 12, 2012, 2:25 GMT)

Warm up match is very important for any visitors team in sub continent and its give them confidence to play in sub continent pitches. Weather it is spin or fast or flat pitch once you got some momentum then it will help in real match. Now English batsman got some confidence in warm up match and they played some lengthy inning in warm up match so may be it will create problem for host team.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 12, 2012, 2:06 GMT)

Spin or no Spin, England was always going to loose this series 4-0. This is what has been happening since last 50 years. India have gone to England and already beaten them in 2007 and numerous ODI series wins as well. Basically that 4-0 in England was a relief to England themselves after loosing at home against India in 2007. MOST WICKTES OF ENGLAND WILL FALL TO SEAMERS THAN SPINNERS THIS SERIES, WATCH OUT FOR REVERSE SWING AND TOE CRUSHERS!

Posted by binojpeter on (November 12, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

@avmd Mishra not playing has nothing to do with Indian think-tank. He actually bowled more overs against England in the first innings than he did in the previous match against Vidarbha when he was the captain and his team lost badly. He bowled only 2 overs after all other inexperienced bowlers in his team had a bowl especially when his team was shot out for paltry 55 in the first innings. He might be carrying some injury. If you don't believe see the link: http://www.espncricinfo.com/indian-domestic-2012/engine/match/574027.html

Posted by Chris_P on (November 12, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

@Sundaresh R Iyer Let's not get too excited. The tracks against India were not flat, No team gets bowled out for 269 on flat tracks, certainly not a team with the class of Indian batsmen and this against what was probably not even our 3rd best bowling attack. Come on now.

Posted by PFEL on (November 12, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

Good tactics, or bad sportsmanship? It's a fine line these days

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

Good for England, that Swann is back in time. They need, not only his experience and bowling skills, but also his ' irritating gift of the gab' to distract the batsman -- an unfortunate additional ingredient of modern day cricket!

Posted by mikey76 on (November 12, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Sundaresh. For the umpteenth time India did not play on greentops in England. They were all flat tracks good for batting. Just look at the scores. KP, Bell and Cook all made double hundreds and England amassed 700 in one match.

Posted by aby_prasad on (November 12, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

@SoverBerry2 THATS THE BEST overall view of cricket ive heard in more than 6 months now! Funny how thousands still crib and base their conclusion depending upon their personal allegiance to pitches without knowing this fact!

Posted by avmd on (November 12, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

Ridiculous, what was Misra doing in the side if he didn't bowl. Looks like Indians have lost the series before it started. With all their negative tactics, if they still lost, some heads should fall, whoever is behind this senseless planning and persisting with Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

Every team does this. When Indians went to Australia & England last year, they were given flat tracks for warm up matches and the real matches were on green track.

So dont cry. Just go play your game. If you can overcome the spin, then its good for cricket.

Posted by bonobo on (November 11, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

its not a few pratice games against some B teams that will solve Englands problems in against spin bowling. I dont put much store in the warm up games, but still that they have managed to really run through an innings, doesnt suggest the lethargy that seemed to overcome the bowling this year has wholly disappeared. I am assuming Finn will play, but its worth noting Bresnan has the strongest form of any of the fast bowlers in the warm up matches and we know Flower is a big fan, lets see

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

Clarke501 Look, it's no big deal. Visiting sides to the sub continent are used to all these soppy tactics. Years ago it was even worse because not only did the touring side have to play 11 opposition players, they also had to play two poor biased umpires. That's the reason neutral umpires were brought in to Test matches. India currently are a mediocre side. England are not as good as they were thre or four years ago, so it will be close.

Posted by brittop on (November 11, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

Come on, my fellow England fans, stop pretending that the counties always put out their best sides against the tourists. As for India not putting too much spin against England, so be it. Personally, I'd have gone the other way and played as many good spinners as they could find to try and increase England's discomfort.

Posted by Nampally on (November 11, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

@A- Vacant_Slip: I did not compare Mishra(leg spinner) to Swann(off spinner). Nor did I bring in the English conditions in my comments. On a flat Indian pitch so full of runs, even Mishra - a dropped leg spinner & Yadev - a young unknown player, each got 4 Wkts. Vs. England in the last match. This was because Cook moaned at not having a chance to play against the spinners. In one innings England practiced against both these spinners. I am talking in present tense Not past tense!.However you turned it into an out of context comparison in the Oval Test between Mishra & Swann. Why was Swann even brought into this discussion?

Posted by ibbotsoni on (November 11, 2012, 20:58 GMT)

@sweetspot. the indians and the english used the same batch of balls last year. they had the same choice. stop making things up.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (November 11, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

I feel England are getting good practice against spin in the local nets. Two of the lads bowling to them that I know are pretty good and were working extra hard as they were motivated to get the wickets of world class batsmen from England.

Posted by Chris_P on (November 11, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

I do recall a trip to India, years ago in Mumbai, when NZ were touring. I went down to watch the teams practice & the Kiwis must have had like 30 or 40 locals lining up to bowl at them. And let me tell you, they were pretty good bowlers as well! In Australia when touring teams come here, the call goes out to get locals for net bowling & many times the visitors are surprised by the quality (& pace) of the net bowlers, so I would suggest it happens in all countries. I would be totally surprised if England aren't getting quality local bowlers at their practice.

Posted by sweetspot on (November 11, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

A warm-up match is exactly that - a warm-up match. It is not a "skill improvement" match. Since Swann is such a world class bowler, why can't he bowl to the England batsmen for practice? Indian sides have every right and it would be in the right spirit to give their youngsters and less experienced players a chance to have a go at English batsmen. Front line Indian batsmen are also not playing these games, so why isn't Cook complaining about that? On India's dismal tour of England, England used balls that were more than a year old that are known to swing more, while the Indians were given brand new balls. Nothing illegal, but English enough to be considered sporting?

Posted by simon_w on (November 11, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

Yeah, it's been a pretty poor show from India so far, refusing to allow the England team any real challenge (and no, this is really not comparable to what happened when India toured England, it's really not), but I don't think it will make too much difference either way. If England had faced quality spin on turning pitches throughout this warm-up period, they'd probably have experienced at least one batting collapse of some sort at some point, and then everyone would be talking about how bad it was for confidence, etc. Test cricket has been so unpredictable recently -- I can't wait for this to get under-way, because I really don't know how it's going to go. No-one expected England to get so badly beaten by Pakistan in the UAE, and no-one expected India to get thrashed in England last time. The way things have been going, 3-1 either way is a possibility, and so is 2-2.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 11, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

I know India have the home advantage, but isn't this a case of 'catch-22'? England's batsmen haven't had enough chance to face the Indian spinners... the Indian spinners haven't had enough chance to face England's batsmen! We'll see, we'll see...

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 11, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

@Sobhan_Sachinfan: I note that you have chosen a sobriquet that includes the name of the greatest Indian batsman who ever drew breath; more than the 'Little Master', he is also a gracious & generous-minded sportsman who would never dismiss the current England Test team as 'far from a decent side' as you have done. So, do you honour his name with your mean-spirited words? There is indeed much evidence to suggest that whilst England is not at the top of the rankings as they were only four months ago, they are actually precisely what you say they are not -- a decent side! That's precisely how I'd describe them. What they do have collectively is character (this means that they will do their utmost, give 100%) & win or lose, I expect them, as does every fair-minded fan on both sides to compete, play hard & fair & provide a good competitive series for all fans to enjoy. I hope that you do too, & learn to appreciate the skills of all players on both sides, in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 11, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

@Kovid Dutt - England are not 'whining'. Read Cook's comments properly. Last year, England provided India with all the practice matches they requested, in similar conditions to the test matches and the counties put up some decent quick bowlers. What was the problem? @Vacant_Slip - excellent comment.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 11, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

@Vacant Slip You have said it yourself Mishra is no longer bowling the way he used to and rightly he has been sidelined. A bowling average of 40+ for a spinner is very bad especially in India. Ashwin would have been a better option. The other things that hampered India on the England are injuries(when your strike bowler breaks down on the first day of a test match, it is bound to demoralise them significantly, cockiness, aging batsmen with slowing reflexes etc., Practice or no practice, England must make do with what ever they got. Yuvraj bowled a lot of overs in the first game and Yadav has bowled pretty well(4 wickets for a rookie spinner is not bad). If England had been a nicer host, we would have returned the favor. Booing crowds(bell run out), name calling, hotspot controversies are what we got and these guys expect us to be nice? "Be nice to people on your way up. You are gonna need them on your way down" Period!

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 11, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

Here's an example of how poor the English batsmen are against spin: (1) Two seasons ago in the County Championship, Surrey signed P.Ojha at the tail end of the season when the Indian selectors weren't smart enough to include him; he went on to bamboozle the opposition batsmen and helped Surrey win the Div 2 Championship. (2) Last season, Somerset signed Rehman and he too spun a web around the hapless batsmen, Rehman was successful in the Tests tpp, a few months earlier in the UAE. Forget guys like Murali, Warne, Ajmal, etc, the Poms can't handle straight-up-non-mystery-run-of-the-mill left arm tweakers.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

Good for England that they got weak oppositions without quality spin attack.. you can see that this got pretty much all their top batsman into solid form and India will regret this as it will backfire.. playing spin and demons in the pitch is all in the head, and I have very little hope that they will overcome that in a test match.. sigh** the bigger worry really and for all England fans should be bowling, they hardly looked like taking 20 wickets especially the fast men.. even before the game has started they are all injured.. anyways.. looking forward to an exciting series

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

@dscoll true enough. The have always claimed the "perfect gentelmen" claim the proof on field and in the stands is quite the opposite

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 11, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

CptMeanster if the wickets are like what you say i for one have no argument thats what you expect. but the build up has been a concerted effort by the BCCI to give any sort of wicket or skill level. we saw when the aussies toured SL the type of wicket they prepared so much so that i was wanting the aussies to win, which indeed they did. preparing wickets can sometimes come back and bite you.

Posted by suraj71 on (November 11, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

english and ausies alwaz speak of sportsmanship when they fall in trouble when india tours england or australia they say its a fast sporty deck.... and when they see a pining deck in subcontinent they will say its not a suitable wicket for cricket....They deserve all this .

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (November 11, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

@Nampally on (November 11 2012, 15:51 PM GMT) Twaddle. Mishra bowled 38 over at the Oval and took 0 for 170. Swann bowled 69 over and took 9 for 208. Whether this was on flat track or spin paradise - either way you cut it it is clear who is better bowler. There could not have been a clearer indication at the Oval - the most "Indian" of pitch, also in hot sunshine, there could not have been a clearer indication of which was the better side..... BTW England won that by and Innings and 8 run. Go figure.

Posted by dscoll on (November 11, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

By refusing to bowl spin against England in the warm up games , India have really demeaned themselves. Cricket is renowned as a game played in a sporting manner but India have brushed this aside in their pursuit of victory. If this is the image that they want to give to their millions of supporters then it's a sad day indeed.I really thought they were above this type of behaviour.

Posted by big_al_81 on (November 11, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

To be honest, England couldn't have done much more given what India have thrown at them which is not much of anything. You cant do much more than play well against whatever comes your way and they've done that despite pretty rotten luck with injuries to key players. It's now just about what's in their heads. If they believe they can win against spin then they will as India's attack is not world class. If they believe there are demons in the pitches and in the bowling they lose. It's all in their heads from here on...

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 11, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

Yes, Cook should be worried. However, to be honest, England are as prepared as they can be. They should be relatively confident ahead of the first test. India have good spinners but they are still young and inexperienced at test level. England should just play good, basic test cricket and they should be okay. It all comes down to the pitch at the Motera. Traditional Indian pitches are good for the fast bowlers on the first session of day 1, then they become batting paradises through the end of days 1, 2, and 3. Finally, they take turn on days 4 and 5. No matter what Dhoni or Fletcher may ask of the groundsman, there is only so much he can do. The soil, weather etc, all play important roles in the nature of the pitch. When people talk of rank turners, I myself don't know what to expect.

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (November 11, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

For beginners: There are two types of Cricket. Subcontinent Cricket and Green Cricket. Some legends play/played beautifully in both formats. This series will decide the class of the Englishmen...

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

Even England did this when we toured them last year ......so why are they whining when they got a taste of their own medicine .

Posted by Nampally on (November 11, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

England faced Yuvraj & Raina in the first match & Yuvraj took 5 for--. In the third match they faced Mishra & Yadev, each taking 4 wkts. on a flat wkt. So Cook is not correct when he says England did not get a chance to play spinners. The fact is these spinners exposed the England weakness against spinners. England will face 3 more spinners in the Test match as well. It is fortunate for England that the Indian Selectors did not choose any right arm leg spinners in the squad. A wrist spinner can get lot more turn than the off spinners or left hand orthodox. This is anything but a smart move on part of the Indian Selectors! Already Amit Mishra with 4 wkts. on a flat batting track showed the England weakness against leg spin. Give him a turner & see the fun. As for the player Fitness, it is entirely England's problem.They can either rest Finn & Broad - allow time for a full recovery or risk playing them. Almost all top England batsmen have scored heavily.So stage is set for Test series.

Posted by CricketMonsterManoj on (November 11, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

I think ENGLAND will learn lot from this series starting from how to tackle spin,cope up with sub continent climate and many more situations.Especially they are going to see the true face of indian test players.

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 11, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

A good and decent team should be able to play in all sort of conditions and all bowling attacks. Recent times, most of the teams failed to do so. that shows the depreciation of the quality of players. There are only handful of threatening BOWLERS in the world cricket now a days, either Fast-bowlers or spinners. Cricket is Boring without Bowlers like Wanre, murali, Mcgrath,Wasim,Kumble,Donald...... England!!! you too are far from a decent side. Wait and watch!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by binojpeter on (November 11, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

If opposition unit was so weak, why is that England could not put runs on board fast and dismiss the opposition twice using their superior bowling unit in at least one of the warm-up matches. But I agree that performance in a warm-up match is not an indicator for their performance in real matches.

Posted by avas on (November 11, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

British universities sides have been playing practice games against touring sides in England in the past. I think the professional sides they are facing are better then that.

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