India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata

Finn fit, could replace Broad

George Dobell

December 3, 2012

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn removed Vernon Philander with a short ball, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 2nd day, August 3, 2012
Steven Finn could make his first Test appearance of the India tour at Kolkata © Getty Images

Steven Finn has declared himself fit for selection for the third Test and looks set to displace Stuart Broad in England's team.

Finn, who suffered a thigh strain in the first warm-up game of the tour, bowled two spells in the nets at training at Eden Gardens on Monday without discomfort and then stated: "If I'm needed on Wednesday, then I'll be ready to go. I feel in good rhythm. I'm in a good place."

Finn could face a tough return at Eden Gardens. For all the talk of the pitch - and the Eden Gardens curator, Prabir Mukherjee, has certainly talked a good game over recent days - it seems that the India captain, MS Dhoni, is going to receive exactly what he requested. Recently used - the last Ranji Trophy match on it ended on November 20 - it will offer, on the evidence of the practice pitches on the same square, far more to spinners than seamers. The England seamers struggled to get the ball to bounce above hip height in the nets which, according to Mukherjee, are much like the Test pitch. Finn may have extra pace but, on such surfaces, his control and skill will be even more important.

"If I'm picked as part of a two-man seam attack, I might be used in a strike-bowling capacity," Finn said. "There is a little bit of pressure, but you don't change your plans or the way that you bowl. Just because you're being used as a strike bowler doesn't mean you start bowling bumpers and yorkers all the time searching for wickets. You still have to have a degree of patience and use your skills wisely."

Broad can console himself with the knowledge that, when England revert to an attack containing three seamers, he is likely to return. The experience of being dropped is new to him, however, and will smart. Plucked out of county cricket when he was just 20 - his seventh List A game was an ODI - he was tipped for greatness early and, having been appointed England's T20 captain before he was 25, was promoted to vice-captain at the start of this tour. His career is now at something of a crossroads.

Perhaps he can consider himself unfortunate. Vernon Philander is the only seamer in the world to have taken more Test wickets than Broad this year - Philander has 43, Broad 40 - and he has finished as England's highest wicket-taker in two of the three full series in which he has played this year (against West Indies and South Africa). In the series against Pakistan, Monty Panesar claimed one more wicket than Broad.

Although he took eight wickets in the Headingley Test, Broad was disappointingly impotent in against South Africa, like his colleagues, and has yet to take a wicket in the series against India. Not only has he lost some pace - a fact that is obvious to all but the man himself and, it seems, England's bowling coach, David Saker - but his control has deteriorated, culminating in him conceding five runs an over in Mumbai.

It may be relevant that he and Tim Bresnan, who has also lost his nip, are the only two seamers in the England party to have regularly played all three formats of the game for any length of time at international level. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that England's schedule is diluting the performance of their best players and coaches. There is a clear warning here to England over the long-term future of Finn.

There is a sense, too, that the wake-up call of being dropped may do Broad no harm. While there is little evidence that he has become consciously complacent, it is often the case that a man who has known hunger will work harder than one who never has. Life has come pretty easy to Broad so far and this new challenge may yet be the making of him. Aged just 26, his best years should be ahead of him.

He does not lack for support from his colleagues. Saker, who is the latest member of the touring party to fall ill, and James Anderson have already spoken of the need to throw a consoling arm around his shoulder and, on Monday, it was Finn's turn to offer his support.

"He is an exceptional bowler," Finn said. "He's had tough times in his career before with injuries but he's played 50 Tests. He's a world-class player and we know he'll be back. He is not a million miles away."

It is likely that England will make two changes to the side that won so convincingly in Mumbai. As well as Finn for Broad, Ian Bell is expected to return. While it is probable that he will replace Jonny Bairstow, it is possible that both Bell and Bairstow will play and that Samit Patel, who averages 12.66 with the bat and 62 with the ball in his four Tests, will make way.

Broad's likely absence, and the continuing omission of Bresnan, means that England may have a longer tail than normal. Graeme Swann, who started the series at No.10 (he actually batted at No.11 in the first innings at Ahmedabad), will bat at eight, meaning a final three of Anderson, Finn and Panesar. It is not ideal, but the onus should really be on the batsmen to make the bulk of the runs. Despite the excellence of Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook, England could do with more of a contribution from Jonathan Trott, Bell and whoever bats at No. 6.

This could well prove to be an attritional encounter. While the pitch will effectively be nine days old by the scheduled end, it looks as if any turn available to the spinners may be slow and with little bounce. Panesar, who, with 96 victims is the highest first-class wicket-taker anywhere in the world in 2012, may struggle to replicate his Mumbai heroics.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (December 5, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

@Nampally on (December 04 2012, 19:52 PM GMT) It is only misleading if it's untrue. If he isn't the highest 1st class wicket taker in 2012 then it is misleading.

Posted by moBlue on (December 5, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

how is dhoni "getting exactly what he requested"?!? nonsensical! i remember the terrific kolkata pitch in *that* test in 2001. it had bounce and fast turn and something for the seamers too! bhajji got a hat-trick but the oz piled up hundreds and forced IND to follow on! so... dhoni wanted *that* pitch! one with bounce and fast turn! not what he is getting - a used pitch with low bounce and slow turn!!! not all "turning" pitches are the same - the mumbai one was lethal - and terrific, if you ask me! - because it turned sharply and fast, and was also bouncy! ain't nothing wrong with a contest on a fine consistently bouncing pitch like that where the bowlers are equal to a quality batter!

Posted by JG2704 on (December 5, 2012, 0:00 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (December 04 2012, 07:56 AM GMT) If you take out the more comfortable home series vs WI then I guess his stats cross the poor border to become awful. It is again a case of a player being picked on past glories even if the past wasn't too distant. Tell me if a guy coming into the side batted like Bell did in UAE or vs SA , or bowled like Broad did in the 1st 2 tests would he continue being picked?

Posted by Puffin on (December 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

It seems to me that Finn ought to replace Broad. Broad is not at his best and and needs a rest. I don't expect seamers to make much impact in this test just as in the last. England's seamers are good, but on these pitches, not good enough to go much beyond giving the spinners a rest, picking up the odd wicket and varying the bowling.

Posted by Nampally on (December 4, 2012, 19:52 GMT)

George, the last paragraph about Panesar's highest wickets for 2012 is rather misleading. He got 96 wkts. in 23 first class matches. He might be highest wkt. taker just because he has played the highest number of matches. Wkts./match is the realistic way of establishing the leader. Panesar had an average of 4.16 Wkts./match. All Pakistan bowlers like Ajmal. Abur Razzak, Abdul Rehman have over 6 Wkts/match as does Randiv of SL ov over 7 wkts./match. Amongst the English players Finn >4.5wkts/match. So your stats have to be in the right context. Of course his best effort came in the Mumbai test where he captured 11 Wkts in one match. He came back with a vengeance from a "Discarded list of England Test players" - a terrific feat! I doubt whether he will be able to repeat this feat in the Kolkatta Test.

Posted by Nampally on (December 4, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta: I did not include Dhoni amongst the top batsmen because his batting technique & footwork are all wrong. On a difficult wkt. I don't expect anything from Dhoni. Saha is the real wk/batsman India need or even D.Karthik as next best. Dhoni should give up Test Cricket & just focus on ODI & T-20. He has been fortunate to captain Indian Test team when Dravid, SRT & VVS were at their best which got India the #1 status. He does not have leadership qualities nor the Cricket Culture to inspire his team & get the best out of them..

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 4, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

why not go in with bresnan, finn the 2 spinners from the last test and tredwell giving us a 5 man attack i normally would never go into a test without anderson but bres gives us the extra batter. i would not have any of the indian bowlers in exchange from our 4/5 bowlers.good attack for india.

Posted by CBVIJAY on (December 4, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

India can't even win test series in Zimbabwe. they only managed to leveled the test series in Zimbabwe.after 1-0 lead they lost the second test match and series drawn 1-1.

Posted by EdGreen on (December 4, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Finn for Broad is the most important thing for England Meety is right about bell - and as Meaker has been sent back to the performance squad after his 3-8 Anderson should stay, but I'd still want to see Root given a go at No3.

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 4, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

england is as gud as zim or kenya in india they can win once in a while but are minnows in turning tracks, hoping for 3-1 win in coming days for subcontinent bullies i.e. my country INDIA

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

@fr600 : is only a while that indian team gets its combination right as a settled one ! its too early to weigh team india along with the minnows ! its always a difficult task when 3 of the seasoned player are out of the fray suddenly ! its something every team has to face once in a while ! even aussies are facing the heat! barring clarke & hussey none of the player in the side had the temperament to play long innings ! sad plight of the developing aussie bowlers were clearly exposed too ! Mark my words if cook or pietersen or both fail to click english team is also vulnerable and the prototype of the same was evident at abudhabi !

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (December 4, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

England should go and play against Zimbabwe rather than wasting time here. India can compete against SA which would have been an interesting contest. India already leveled series in SA and proved their quality.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 4, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Btw: Jon Agnew is reporting that Finn will come in for Broad and Bell with replace either Samit Patel or Jonny Bairstow.

Posted by fr600 on (December 4, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

England should go and play against South Africa instead of wasting time. It would be a better competition if India played Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 4, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Incidentally, Jonathon Trott has not had a great year, but is averaging significantly more than Ian Bell in 2012 (728 runs @ 33.1 with 1x100, 6x50 in 13 Tests)

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

Finn should replace Broad, you don't win Test matches on loyalty, we lost the first because the selectors got it wrong and lacked the moral courage to replace a 'quickie' for that of a second spinner.

Broad is having a tough time, therefore, must be rested. I believe the Australians made the same mistake, retaining Ricky P out of loyalty, when a younger player could have been used.

Sorry is not good enough because the selectors erred, no one has the the divine right to hold down a place in any team if they are out of form and that goes for Stewart Broad.

Bell in for Patel and Bairstow must say for the good of the game, we have batting in depth and we play our best players, those in form on the day!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 4, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

Incidentally, in 2012 Bell averages 55 in ODIs. (549 runs in 11 innings). It's his Test match form that is going astray.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 4, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

@landl 522 runs @ 29.0 in 12 Tests in 2012 tends to give the lie to your defence of Ian Bell. He has had a poor year. Not awful, just poor and, despite his travails against the West Indies, Jonny Bairstow has outperformed him. Yes, he averaged over 100 v West Indies thanks to 2 not outs in 4 innings and 2x50 in the 2nd Test. He averages 29 with 6x50 and 3 not outs in 21 innings to help his numbers. That suggests that he has been getting in and getting out without going on. His last 4 Tests have brought 13, 55, 11, 3*, 58, 4, 0, 22: yes, a couple of 50s, but in a host of low scores. And yes, he scored 2x50 in the 2005 Ashes too, but no one would claim that a success either. You can get 6 low scores and no one will mind if one of the other two is a century, but he hasn't got one since India left England. No one expects the amazing returns of 2011, but an average of 29 for a full year is not enough.

Posted by applethief on (December 4, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

I'd be highly surprised if golden-boy Broad was dropped, without picking up some kind of last-minute "injury". I expect to see plenty of vintage short-pitcher rubbish from Broad again before he ever gets dropped.

Posted by kumar692 on (December 4, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

M S Dhoni is walking on a very thin line right now..i believe that if he loses this series to England (i hope it doesn't happen) then he could lose his captaincy too and then it comes to his position in test team which is questionable for quite some time. So this series could be a make or break kind of situation for Mr. Cool...To add insult to injuries , not many Indian batsman are in good form considering their dismal show in recent times. So it's quite clear that M S Dhoni needs to step up and has to do something different (he's well known for) to get into the skin of inform English side.

Posted by Meety on (December 4, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

For what its worth - England need only make one change that is Broad out, & anybody else in! I would NOT under any circumstances for this Test bring Bell in, for any of the batsmen.

Posted by ElvisKing on (December 4, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

It is surprise that so many people just talk about Finn and Broad...I thin k both are good on their day and can be useful for any team. England does have better and balanced team than India and have been playing together for last 2 years or more. India on the other hand is rebuilding and will take some time to arrive at a winning combination, only hitch is MS Dhoni has to get rid of his fixed idea that Ashwin is going to be "The" match winner for India and should be ready for shock. Cricket is not played with set ideas you have change your plans on the field and adapt and grab the situation,which he has not shown so far. Instead of appreciating the Ahmedabad win he was complaining about wicket. It does look like that past success has gone to the head and he thinks the same technique will bring glory.If the batting does not click for India,you need runs on Board, to buy wickets and utilize the talent of spinners it will be disadter for India.

Posted by anver777 on (December 4, 2012, 4:00 GMT)

Broad is completely out of form & fittingly Finn is the man, who had troubled Indian batsmen in the warm up matches... Finn Finally Fit !!!!

Posted by landl47 on (December 4, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

I think Finn should play, but frankly I don't think it will make much difference. If the wicket is as slow and low as the England side suspect (which means Mr. Mukerjee was just blowing smoke when he said it would have pace and bounce) the seam bowlers are not going to determine the outcome. In fact, it might almost be worth the gamble of only playing one seamer and using Tredwell as the fourth bowler. I'm amazed at how much nonsense is being talked about Bell. Yes, he had a dismal series against Pakistan in the UAE, but so did everyone else. He got a 50 in Sri Lanka when everyone else folded up, averaged 110 against the West Indies and got a couple of fifties against South Africa. That might not be a great year, but it's not terrible. He was one of the best test batsmen in the world in 2011, with 5 centuries and an avergae of over 100, including 235 and 159 against these same Indians and 331 runs for once out against Sri Lanka. Of course he comes back in.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 4, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta on (December 04 2012, 01:30 AM GMT), I disagree with that assessment. Whether it was because of the "enforcer" tag or not, there's no doubt that Broad was bowling too short and not having success prior to the last series against India in England. At the start of that series though, the tag was discarded, Broad pitched the ball up and had great success. He bowled quite well in UAE too. He really hasn't been the same since coming back from injury, so that seems to have been a major factor. If he doesn't recover the pace he seems to have lost then he'll never be the bowler he was because he's never going to have metronomic accuracy like McGrath did. His pace is down and his line and length is inconsistent. If he can get all three back to where they were against India in England, immediately after Flower debunked the "enforcer" myth, then he'll be a force again.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

Too many Cooks (not Captain Cook) spoiled the Broad. He was an 'enforcer'. Andy Flower started saying that Broad's role is NOT that of an enforcer. I wonder, how many noticed, Broad's decline started with that 'role confusion', instead of a clear 'role definition'. That was an 'insult'. Subsequently, physical injuries added 'injury' to 'insult' -- to use a mixed metaphor. It is an English version of what happened to a promising young man like Irfan Pathan. Too many advisers, from India and elsewhere, with all good intentions, confused his mindset, regarding his role. And, regarding his bowling techniques. And unwittingly destroyed the career of one of the most promising all rounders for India.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

@ Posted by Nampally on (December 03 2012, 17:01 PM GMT) England won at Mumbai on the backs of ......etc.

I fully agree. But you should have included Dhoni also among the batting failures. Including him , 5 of the top 7 Indian batsmen failed. Even the other two batsmen, succeeded in one innings and failed in the other. Can any team in that position win against any team?

Two "Mumbai Indians" wasted two imporatnt slots in the playing XI -- one great batsman of the past, and one great bowler of the past. Effectively, India played with 9 players; not XI.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (December 3, 2012, 23:57 GMT)

I dont mind Finn or Onions for Broad, they will both bowl and bat better than SB atm. Bell has had a feeble year and after THAT shot and ave 8 in UAE bell deserves to sit this one out, and a few more. JB has much more match winning potential than bell, so does EM. I would stick with Patel, he scored a warm up ton, (I know it was only against a local club side) and he kept KP company for a while. He was triggered twice in 1st test but he has played better than bell and offers a small break for Eng spinners. Apart from SB, who was ill & is screaming out for a break, I would not change a winning side, so no bell. It was no coincidence that Eng finally win a test and bell was not playing.

Posted by BG4cricket on (December 3, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

For me I would definitely play Finn for Broad to provide more spark in the bowling and I really think England need 6 specialist batsmen to make a decent score so Bell on for Patel who is a bit player only in both disciplines.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 23:15 GMT)

Finn clearly has to play. Tricky question for England is whether to play two of Bell, Bairstow and Patel, or one of same, Prior at 6 and Broad or Bresnan at 7. I do hope they don't stick with Broad just to strengthen the lower batting, as a) batsmen should be the ones to score runs and if they can't, why bother, and b) Anderson is a perfectly decent no. 9 anyway.

I am a great advocate of batting Prior at 6 - it seems the only justification for picking him - but on this occasion I would, just, go for Bairstow and Patel.

I wonder if this will get published. My comments usually don't.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 3, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (December 03 2012, 19:01 PM GMT) I think I'd definitely stick with Jonny.I'd be tempted with Root for Patel or Trott. Just that Trott looks in awful form at the moment. As for Patel , he's not convinced me as a batsman. To me his feet movement can be slow and is a prime candidate for lbw - even more to the quicker bowlers. Also in the 1st test when Swann took 5 for in the 1st inns Patel looked no better with the ball than our pacers and if he's not going to look threatening in that match when is he? Also in the last match , I don't remember seeing much of Patel bowling. As for Broad/Finn. TBH , I'm not sure any pacer will be that threatening on these wickets but I'd definitely not play Broad. Re the batting , one of the regulars commented on why we don't play our better players of spin and leave those who struggle at home. Have to agree there. Monty wouldn't get a look in on a cold , damp Leeds pitch so why does it work differently with batsmen?

Posted by kitten on (December 3, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

If India lose this test, then drastic action should be taken. If the openers fail again, and Tendulkar and Yuvi also don't turn up, and Zaheer carries on listlessly, then one of Sehwag and Gambhir should be dropped, and Rahane picked in his place. Tendulkar and Yuvi shown the door, and Manoj Tiwari, and maybe even Raina(in India he is good) picked in their places. And Zaheer put out to grass, and in his place, either Ishant or any other young aspiring pace bowler picked. Let's be honest, this guy won't perform any worse that Zaheer. Ofcourse having said all this, it is quite likely all these guys will perform out of their skins, and win the match, and will carry on for another year or so!! In any case, I do hope this match is better contested, and may the better team win.

Posted by TheDoctor394 on (December 3, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

I would have thought, after the last Test, that a spinning pitch would be the last thing Dhoni wants. :)

Posted by RameshRayaprolu on (December 3, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

I think Indian's don't play Finn very well...thats the reason why ENG can opt him to play this match...considering the fact that there is no GREAT WALL and the VERY VERY SPECIAL batting for India, I pray that they don't give away the series here in Kolkata...

Capt. Dhoni, please...I urge you NOT to allow breaking EDENs winning streak... :( !

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 3, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

@JG, it s certainly an interesting question. You can perm almost any 3 from Trott, Bell, Patel, Bairstow and Root. I would be tempted to back Bairstow as the future and I would worry about pitching in Root on the basis of one good innings against very weak opposition. Trott and Bell do worry me though. Trott admits that he is in a bad slump and Bell has had an awful year all round. The two things that Samit Patel offers are that he was one of the few players to look like a batsman in India last year and a few cheap overs from him will help to spell Monty if India do get stuck in. Unlike Gus Fraser, I would certainly pick Steve Finn over Stuart Broad and think that he would complement Jimmy Anderson much better than Graeme Onions would (two similar types of bowler). People tend to forget that in 1984/85 one of the big factors in the England win was Norman Cowans and Neil Foster shaking-up the Indian top order by bowling FAST and aggresively: Finn will do that while Anderson strangles.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

Finn won't do any better than what panesar and Swann doing for them at the moment

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 3, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

jose p the person to have used that comment was warne, note sure anyone else has used it, perhaps warne as the greatest spinner has the right to say it but dont mean its right he can talk twaddle sometimes.

Posted by subbass on (December 3, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

Finny bowl them quick yorkers ! But I do think Finny will end up a world class pace bowler as he already is in ODI's he can be unplayable. He has a decent Test record but he can get his avg near 25 over the next few years. The guy can bowl at 95 mph not many who can do that we need top stick with him and let him do his thing.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 3, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

@Tigg on (December 03 2012, 11:11 AM GMT) I had him in my starting 11 for the 1st test - pre tour - but he's not done that much in the warm up matches so I'm not sure. I certainly wouldn't be against it - has to be better than Broad

@EdGreen on (December 03 2012, 11:26 AM GMT) I like your team but one change I'd definitely make (if it's another spinning track) is Tredwell for Patel. PS - CS has just explained Meaker is no longer there so that rules that out

Posted by JG2704 on (December 3, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (December 03 2012, 10:27 AM GMT) I wouldn't be surprised if they bring in Bell for Patel. Personally I'd only consider him (Bell) coming back in the side on the grounds that he is a specialist close fielder. They might even bring Root in for Patel. Patel's bowling has looked pretty ordinary - I always said he's a batsman who bowls a bit- and to me he hasn't convinced me (battingwise) in the tests.

Posted by Nampally on (December 3, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

England won at Mumbai on the backs of Swann, Panesar, Cook & KP. India lost the Mumbai test because 4 batsmen Sehwag, Tendulkar, Kohli & Yuvraj failed in both the innings.Harbhajan should never have been in squad let alone in XI. There in lies the answer to Winning & Losing. Are these 4 Indian batsmen capable of showing some gumption & moving their team into winning position. Dhoni needs to be logical in his XI by excluding Harbhajan first & then use all his bowlers especially Yuvraj. England won because Cook used his limited bowling effectively & with lot of guts. Panesar has been on the shelf for the past 2 years & to make him bowl that well is a superb effort. He also got the best of KP. Can Dhoni inspire to get the best out of his team- especially the 4 above mentioned batsmen,who slept thru' Mumbai Test! Can Dhoni match Cook? If he does he will turn the tables on him if not India go down again. This is a battle of Leadership. Will Real Dhoni show up in leading by example?

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (December 3, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Of the pace bowlers of both sides, Finn is the one who has the pace and height to consistently trouble the batsmen. If he can shake off the cobwebs he won't get easier wickets than Sehwag and Gambhir to start with and Dhoni (on current form) and Yuvraj later in the innings. I'd be interested to see if Pujara really does have the technique and temperament against Finn. Unlikely it will happen but the raw pace of Meaker at Eden Gardens could really compliment Finn and expose the soft underbelly of the Indian batting. Monty and Swanny might not even need to bowl.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

Even as a disinterested party, you cannot help feeling that Broad benefits in situations where others - people whose father's are not the game - would find themselves on the outs and disadvantaged.

Yes he can bowl. But Bad Stuart is seen more often these days than Good Stuart. Add in the meddling with the KP/Twitter debacle and some time on the sidelines away from other players may make everyone - except Stuart - a little bit happier.

Posted by Nampally on (December 3, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

England go with 2 changes to their winning team from Mumbai. India must go with one obvious change of dropping Harbhajan. India already has 2 off spinners in Ashwin & Sehwag + 2 lefty spinners in Ojha & Yuvraj. Dhoni failed to Use Yuvraj & Sehwag in Mumbai ! Why did he waste one space for Harbhajan who is just a shadow of the bowler he was!. Dhoni has a choice of using either Rahane to reinforce batting or bring in Ishant Sharma.It is absolutely vital that the Indian batting scores 400 runs in the first innings to be in the match. Sehwag, Gambhir,Tendulkar, Yuvraj & Kohli MUST perform! They have to be patient & score runs even in just singles, if forced to. Pujara has been the backbone of batting & must continue to do so. Dhoni failed badly except winning the Toss. His bowling changes,field placing, batting & lack of tactics left lot to be desired. He must get the job done on the field with NO excuses. Intensity is absent in this team probably due to ice cold Dhoni. Step it up & WIN.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 3, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

I don't know why is Broad even considered after his terrible outings so far. Finn is an automatic choice for me to replace Broad. @Jose Puliampatta: Sadly, that list will continue to remain without Indian names because we in India have a 'batting' culture. Bowlers have always been overlooked as mere formalities in the sport. It's time to grab the problem by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. It's time Indian cricket pays more attention to our bowling. Bowling wins matches, and not batsmen. We could have beaten England in Mumbai had our bowling clicked. We wouldn't have lost 8-0 had our bowling performed. So you see, the batsmen are only part of the problem.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (December 3, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Makes sense I would of thought he'd been in from the start, his height and bounce will cause more trouble to the short Indian batsman than any of England's other bowlers.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

About time that for Broad to be dropped..I cannot believe this half decent county player has actually played these many games for England..You look at his record closely and you will see how many average performances he has had over his career compare that to his match winning performances..He is the most inconsistent bowler ever..Farcical..

Onions/Tremlett/ Finn are much better bowlers than Broad and more suited to all conditions

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 15:53 GMT)

India should go in with Rahane in place of Harbhajan. The second specialist off-spinner doesn't seem to add value and Sehwag's bowling (more classical off-spinners action) was underutilized. Tail-enders won't be able to stay for long in these pitches -at best they can give couple of big shots. The match wouldn't go beyond 4th day and may end in the 3rd day. So, not much issue of bowlers getting tired.

Posted by voma on (December 3, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

I think Steve Finn has done enough to earn a place in starting 11 . Hard to believe Stuart Broad has taken 40 test wickets this year , he was poor against South Africa . Hasnt even turned up yet on this tour , to play 2 tests without taking any wickets or scoring any meaningfull runs . Surely must be unacceptable in this England team . The comments being made about Tim Bresnan are unfair to say the least .

Posted by JustIPL on (December 3, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

I dont think if Braod will be dropped as he was the main weapon when England clinched the top test ranking. With age on his side he should be given a chance to play in Indian conditions and experience whatever on and off the field tactics are played while touring India. He is the vice captain and is being groomed to be a long term captain. One one hand we are insisting on the same eleven for india just based on decade old stats and want english future out of their team.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 3, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

@Henrik, Matthew Hoggard's problems were elsewhere, as has been well documented. He himself also acknowledged that his pace and nip had gone and his time was up in Tests, although it took years for the full circumstances of his dropping to become known. Jimmy Anderson had had his action remodelled and was struggling at times to hit the cut strip. And Steve Harmison was in and out of the side for years before finally losing his place definitively (on one tour he was in and out of the side no less than 10 times!) So, none of them is really a comparable case with Stuart Broad. However, I did notice that Gus Fraser, a Middlesex man, was backing Stuart Broad to play in the 3rd Test ahead of his own protegee, saying that it was too early to drop Broad.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

broad should b dropped for finn.anderson also out for onions.bell should remain out for bairstow and morgan in for patel

Posted by JustIPL on (December 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

Fin for Patel and Bell for Bairstaw. Bell is back with clear mind after parenting stint and and in the next two matches which will most likely be flat tracks, he is sure to thrive. Broad had enough time time to recuperate after second test and should blow at full length. Good chance for England to field three top class seamers and two top class spinners. Any way Broad did not have to bowl virtually anything just 12 overs in the first innings and none needed of him in india's second in the second test. I will ignore first test performance as it was a highly doctored pitch and bowler would have toiled on that strange strip. So, I am for one more go for Broad.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

I don't how many of we Indian readers have noticed: There is not even ONE INDIAN BOWLER among the top 50 wicket-takers (globally) in the year 2012. And Monty, is right on the top with 96 wickets!

Posted by Hammond on (December 3, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

@Tigg- I agree, Onions would be ideal for these dodgy pitches.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

Monty is going to be England's trump card. The thought process, behind his bowling has gone up in leaps & bounds. It is a shame to read English journalists describing him, at best as uni-dimensional, and at worst as someone slow on the uptake. To me, such comments seem totally unfair, if you look at Monty's performance in recent months. (Look at the way, he pitches the ball on leg stump line or even outside the leg stump, and the ball after pitching, goes after the off stump bail, with pin point precision, so often. And, sometime without any warning, it straightens too. I have seen only Warne doing that in the past with such frequency and such precision). Both sides taken together, for Indian conditions, he is the best bowler.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

I fully agree with @Naresh 28. The biggest problem for India is with the opening batsmen. For quite some time, the pattern is clear. If they perform well, India's chance improves. And, vice versa. Keep bowling outswingers to Gouti, sooner than later he will poke one of it into the hands of a slip fielder. That is Jimmy's job.You keep on giving balls to Sehwag, high enough for uppercut, sooner or later he will sky one, for an easy catch.That is Finn's job. Even if one of these two falls early, it certainly seems to affect the confidence of the rest. (In addition to Sachin's decline, and Dhoni's incompetence as a test batsman, Kohli & Yuvi also seem to be out of form. One kid, Pujara alone can not do much. Ashwin, dont try to be a Sehwag, when you get the bat in hand, try to be a Pujara, which you can do, since you have the technique. Less we talk about Indian bowlers, the better.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

If Finn is going to play, I would like to quote one of the readers, Gareth, who put his view very clearly and logically about the bowler knocking down the non-striker's stumps. Gareth's post was a few months ago. To quote him : "A bowler overstepping the mark gives him/her an unfair advantage before the delivery has been bowled and as such is a no ball. A bowler getting too close to the stumps also gives him/her an unfair advantage by going beyond the acceptable bounds of delivery and as such, should be no different. In no way should the batsman be penalized for the bowler's error." … I don't think I can say it any better. It should a no ball. The bowler and bowler alone needs to be penalized. I thought of putting it up now, since it sometimes adversely affects the bowler (when he gets a wicket & sometimes the batsman, when he gets a 4 or 6 from such a delivery. If I put this up, if one of such events occurs, it may look biased).

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 3, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Let's see - The world's fastest bowler against an out-of-form All rounder. It's a no-brainer.

Posted by NLS1 on (December 3, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

This is it. England will now sport an incisive attack with new and old ball. Goodbye India! So much about 4-0 predictions by some of our stupid (Indian) fans - we gave Poms a nice stick to beat us with. -- from an Indian

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

I'm not so certain Broad will be dropped, no matter what England's best options are. A comparison with Anderson, Hoggard, Sidebottom and Harmison may give one indication: Anderson was in and out of the team for more than five years and was never allowed the luxury of a poor performance. The other three quickly found themselves surplus to requirements once their form tailed away (in one case after injury). Sturat Broad on the other hand has always retained his place, no matter how uninspiring his performances. He is the Test vice captain and T20 captain. He was a key figure in the Pietersen saga, apparently "on the good side", at least in the eyes of the ECB. It all adds up. Should he play, he MUST succeed or public outrage at the preferential treatment accorded him over the years might keep him out for a very long time indeed. Thus it is in his own best interest to be dropped NOW, but I wonder if he and the England management see it that clearly.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Please don't pick Bell, please, he's had his day. Put some faith in Jonny Bairstow, let's move on.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 3, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

As the next most important cricket match dawns ( after the last one) there is an expectation of more great things. Finn for Broad and Bell for Patel seem to me to be the logical changes to be made. I do not see Root getting a game yet though his chance is not far away, while Morgan must be champing at the bit. He so talented that it cannot be long. I think retaining Bairstow is probably the right way to go, as his ability to score fast is invaluable. Anderson has not exactly run through the Indians, but which seamer will? At least his lengths and lines have been honest,more so than vs SA. His wicket of Gambhir was I suspect invaluable. It should be fascinating in Kolkata.

Posted by SDHM on (December 3, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

I don't even really think it's a decision to make; Broad's batting has deteriorated to mindless slogging, his bowling lacks precision & penetration, and even his normally excellent ground fielding looked poor in Mumbai, so it isn't as if he's offering anything to the team at the moment. Finn may not contribute with the bat and he's not quite as athletic in the field, but even on a pitch not offering much for seamers, you'd expect him to carry more of a threat with the ball - surely reason enough to include him. A longer tail may just focus a few more batsmen's minds too. Such an intriguingly poised series - both sides have question marks hanging over them, & you get the feeling with both that confidence is fragile. A poor start from either side in Kolkata & you feel it's game, set & series to the other.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 3, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

@EdGreen, Meaker is no longer with the tour party!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 3, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@Tigg, Onions is traditional English seam and swing. Is he really the most likely bowler to get something out of the pitch? In India you need either raw pace or someone who can reverse it to support the talents of Jimmy Anderson.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

good news for eng. and sleepless night for Dhoni may be it last test for dhoni and sachin

Posted by EdGreen on (December 3, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Cook, Compton, Root, Pietersen, Bairstow, Prior, Patel, Swann, Meaker, Finn, Panesar please.

Go for the jugular - 20 wickets 4 threatening bowlers and batsmen who have proved themselves successful or at least not proved themselves out of form.

Posted by Tigg on (December 3, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

I still feel for Onions. He's taken 77 first class wickets at less than 17 this season and still can't get a game. Granted he's not quite as quick as Finn but on a slow and low pitch his stump-to-stump line and skiddy action could be key.

Posted by o-bomb on (December 3, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Excellent news! I look forward to seeing Finn play in Kolkata.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

I think resting Broad to remind him he's supposed to be a strike bowler might be good. Maybe SB's been carrying a niggle for the past 5 or 6 months, but his pace and penetration during the SA series in the UK and again here is a long way down from where it was just a few months prior to that. The difference facing 82 and 88 mph is marked. SB bowling with the keeper stood up not good. Seeing him outpaced pretty consistently by Bopara last summer...something is not right there, so get Finn in now. Broad will be back for the Ashes no doubt.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 3, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

Broad's likely absence, and the continuing omission of Bresnan, means that England may have a longer tail than normal. Graeme Swann, who started the series at No.10 (he actually batted at No.11 in the first innings at Ahmedabad), will bat at eight

Broad is a batting liability!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 3, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

It continues to be a case of smoke and mirrors through this tour. Some of the more extreme Indian fans have been calling the groundsman all but a traitor: it will be interesting to see how they react now, although we have not got to the extremes of 1977 where, after 3 straight defeats to England, the groundstaff scrubbed the entire pitch with wire wool to remove any remaining grass! The lesson of Mumbai is that it doesn't matter what is prepared, England are ready to compete. It would be nice to win the toss though and have the choice. Finn for Broad? Despite Gus Fraser backing Broad's inclusion it would be staggering if he were picked. More difficult is the poser, Bell or Bairstow. Ian Bell has 522 runs at 29.0 in Tests this year. Jonny Bairstow has 196 @ 32.7. It is not so obvious to me that Ian Bell *should* be the automatic pick.

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

England might as well give Finn a go, not as if Broads batting or bowling is going to missed currently

Posted by Naresh28 on (December 3, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

INDIA's biggest worry should be the OPENERS. They have let the team down on more occasions than we can think of. We need solid openers who can last a good 200 balls each. GAMBHIR and SHEWAG are NOT good test openers.ZAKS downhill slide is also a big contributing factor.

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