India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 5th day

England to look at selection - Cook

George Dobell in Ahmedabad

November 19, 2012

Comments: 91 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook admitted England would have to reflect on the selection of their side after succumbing to a nine-wicket loss against India in the first Test in Ahmedabad.

England's bowling attack, with three frontline seamers and one specialist spinner, looked ill-suited for a Test played on a low, slow wicket, with the seamers claiming 1 for 254 in the match.

Their batsmen also struggled and, in eight innings between them, England's middle-order of Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Samit Patel contributed just 68 runs. By contrast, Cheteshwar Pujara scored 247 runs in the match without being dismissed and India's two spinners claimed 13 wickets between them.

While Cook admitted the problem, in part, was simply that several players had underperformed, he also conceded that the team management would have to reconsider the make-up and balance of the side ahead of the second Test which begins in Mumbai on Friday.

"Clearly we're going to have to look at our selection," Cook said. "There are some good people making decisions in this England team and we thought we were doing the right thing for the side. The result showed we might have got it wrong. When you get beaten by nine wickets, you have a look at a lot of areas and we have to look at what we could have done better. There will be a lot to ponder. We'll have to look at our squad for the next game."

The omission of left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has been highlighted as a key error by many critics but Cook felt the failure of England's batting line-up in the first innings was more of an issue. He refuted any suggestion that England had been underprepared, but accepted that they would require far more of the team to contribute if they were to fight their way back in the series.

"Our batting, especially in the first innings, didn't deliver enough runs," Cook said. "I thought it was a very good cricket wicket. There was a little bit in it for the spinners, but if you applied yourself with the bat it held together probably better than we thought it would. It was turning, yes. But runs were able to be had out there, as we showed in our second innings.

"If we're going to win out here, everyone in the game has to contribute. We need everyone to stick their hands up at certain times. The lads who haven't performed as well as they would have liked in this game will be very disappointed. We showed a lot of character in that second half of the game. There are a lot of quality players in that dressing-room, with very good records who have scored hundreds against every attack in the world. They didn't deliver in this game, and they know that. The middle order didn't score enough runs. Everyone has to have a look at themselves if we want to take something out of this series."

The defeat means England have lost five out of six Tests in Asian conditions this year, leaving Cook to agree that mental scars might be as large an impediment to progress as technical deficiencies. "I'd say it's a bit of both. Clearly, there are always technical issues before the mental ones kick in. We're doing the right things. It's now getting it right out in the middle and trusting our method there. We can only continue working as hard as we are doing, and I can't fault the lads for that. It's a case of working as hard as we can in the nets, and trusting our method out in the middle."

Cook also said the result had soured the memory of one of his finest innings. "I'm very happy with the way I batted," he said. "To score any hundred for England is very special and to score one in that situation probably made it even more special for me.

"Technically, it might have been a good innings. But you always get more satisfaction when you do it in a winning cause or to save a game. Maybe the 230 in Brisbane, in a similar match situation, is a better innings. But the result is what really matters and we weren't good enough over the five days to win. I'd have been even prouder if I'd survived and dragged a draw out of it. I'm bitterly disappointed."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 22, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (November 20 2012, 10:59 AM GMT) Patel has performed consistently ? Do you mean consistently getting the odd wicket here or there? I Think someone said Patel got something like 16 wickets in the CC this year. Not sure how many Monty got but I'd be surprised if it's anything less than 50. Patel is a batsman who bowls a bit of spin so if he is to be displaced it should be by Jonny,Root or Morgan

Posted by JG2704 on (November 22, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

@Phil Katon on (November 20 2012, 14:57 PM GMT) Swann too doesn't have the variations that some of the SC bowlers have but he was effective enough. He certainly couldn't have been any less effective than our pace trio

Posted by JG2704 on (November 22, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

@maximum6 on (November 20 2012, 12:59 PM MT) Maybe it is a fitness thing but since he got injured before the 1st SL test he has not been worth his place in the side. That IMO is our problem is that we pick certain players on their past form. Ok if we're winning or if these individuals are performing. Not so good if not

Posted by oneupnowuv on (November 21, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

sometimes too many changes do not help either the dropped/picked player. monty shld come in but he will still go for over 150 runs and get say 3/4 wkts.still a help for swann and better than bresnan. patel shld play bcoz his initial movement against spinners keeps him in a better position to meet bat n ball.also he didnt get out to spinners even once.he can play spin surely.Bell is too good a player to be dropped,he responded better in 2nd innings.IMO morgan and bairstow will be walking wickets.Finn over broad not now,just give broad another game to see if hes learnt something or not. so only change shld be monty over bresnan. all this coming from an Indian.

Posted by g.narsimha on (November 21, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

ANDY WRIGHT - There is no space for ifs& but in cricket , i too can say that if we could have capitalised in the first 2 tests in ENG while they were 5/6 down below 3 digit mark but PROIR in the company of tail took away those matches from INDIA, had we took few wickets the result of that series might have a deferent story all together , even in AUS IN THE 1ST TEST AUS WAS 4/28 IT WOULD HAVE BEEN 5 had the umpire given HUSSY OUT PLUMP LBW , so nothing can be changed with assumptions , face the reality & the reality is u r team is worse than IND in ENG , in these conditions ,after 2 white washes no body credited seaming or hostile conditions just every body degrded our great players making fun of them ignoring thier erlier great performances in ENG & AUS but for u r players , team nothing is there to show in IND for decades.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 21, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

@YusufbhaiPathan No one is going to disagree with you there. Once a batsman got in it took something unusual (a few balls, but only a few, misbehaved) or a mistake to dismiss him. England's first innings performance was down to nerves and the Indian psychological warfare campaign producing the sort of mental disintegration that the Australians used to specialise in. England can play much better. And they will.

Posted by YusufbhaiPathan on (November 21, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

sam_screaming: I totally agree with you buddy....Pitch at Ahmedabad was flat and was not offering much to bowlers as per Indian spin standards...Dhoni's comment on pitch was absolutely correct as India have all rights to make turning Pitches..How come a team can be number one by saying that they can not play spin well...If England really want to be number one than they are required to play spin well, or else I dont think that they deserved it...

Posted by Agila on (November 21, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

Steve Finn into the Eng team would not make any difference, Steve Harmison was lot faster than Finn, Not sure if he is taller or shorter than Finn. But he was pretty ordinary when he toured India 2005-2006. Same with Panesar. Indians definitely bowled and batted better. Want India to go 2-0 up at Mumbai.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 20, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

@José, I was wondering if the inclusion of Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan might help to sharpen the fielding. It can become a spiral: sloppy fielding demotivates the bowlers and makes them less eager and the batsmen then get into the frame of mind of laxness that makes the job of the bowlers so much harder and so on... Often it just takes a couple of really sharp, hungry fielders to change the mindset and animate the side. I was particularly impressed at how Jonny Bairstow came back after his humilliation and scored a couple of classy 50s against South Africa when everyone expected him to be out of his depth and he is an energetic fielder who can energise the fielding effort around him.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Robin Smith, Jimmy Adams (the West Indies JA - not the English one), Darryl Cullinan. Many players have done brilliantly against the seaming and swinging ball, and come horribly unstuck against spim

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