EXCLUSIVE: R Ashwin outstanding, Axar Patel made Test cricket look easy, says Ryan Sidebottom | Cricket News

2021-03-08 09:26:19

NEW DELHI: While the Virat Kohli-led Indian team were lifting the Anthony de Mello Trophy, Joe Root’s men were left to rue missed chances and think about a humbling 3-1 series loss. England won the opening Test by a massive 227 runs and then slumped disastrously and surrendered in the remaining three Tests.
With the big series win, India also entered the final of the World Test Championship, to be held in June, against New Zealand. India entered the final on the back of two consecutive series wins — 2-1 vs Australia in Australia and now 3-1 vs England at home.

(AFP Photo)
The England series saw the emergence of a new Indian spin hero – Axar Patel. Axar, playing his maiden Test series, claimed 27 wickets in just 3 Tests, including four five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul. He signed off the series as second-highest wicket-taker after Ashwin, who bagged 32 wickets in 4 Tests.
India will now face England in a five-match T20I series and then a three-ODI series. All the five T20Is will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, starting March 12.

(AFP Photo)
As India entered the inaugural World Test Championship final in style after a resounding 3-1 win over the Three Lions, Timesofindia.com caught up with former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom and spoke about India’s dominance, what went wrong for England and Joe Root, Kohli the captain, the Ashwin-Axar shows and much more…
England started off on a winning note but then everything went downhill for them. What went wrong for England in the Test series?
After the first Test, I thought we played some really good cricket. Joe Root started so well in the first Test when he posted a big score. And, as the game went on, India have got stronger and stronger. Honestly, England have not been at their best. Our top order really needed to score. The top three are so important in the subcontinent. England have been three for 20 and 30 for four and that is really really difficult. Credit goes to India. They were brilliant on home soil. They haven’t lost many games in many years. I think with the tournaments like this and tours, you get to see who are the players that may go on and have long careers with England and who have the skills. I think the bowlers did pretty well. It was just batsmen, needed runs on the board. England won the first Test but weren’t able to continue in the same vein. India just grew in confidence and their discipline was fantastic.

(Getty Images)
There was a lot of talk about the pitches. The fourth and last Test had a decent batting track. India batted really well but we saw a massive slump in England’s batting. Was that more because of a mental block?
I wouldn’t say England had a mental block, but I just don’t think they had the skill. There are some very talented players in England team, but I think they were just out-skilled by India. And in Test matches, you get lots of ebbs and flows. India batted really well. England had an opportunity, a couple of days ago, when Rishabh Pant was in with (Washington) Sundar. If they had got another wicket ( Pant or Sundar), this Test match (4th Test) could have been different. But that is the beauty of Test cricket. They (Pant and Sundar) went on and posted brilliant partnership. If you’re going to be successful that is what you need. You need the partnerships and put a score on the board.
Your take on Joe Root’s captaincy in the series. Do you think some of the selection calls were wrong? Like when India went with three spinners in the third Test and Root opted for just one?
There’s always going to be critics whatever you do as a captain. Virat Kohli has had it as well. Yes, they probably got that wrong in terms of selection. There were always going to be a spinniny track and playing fast seamers was never really going to work. I don’t think, it is just down to Joe Root. It’s a mistake that England made, the camp made and the coaches made. India just capitalised on that situation. I think also the tail was a little bit too long.

(Reuters Photo)
Will this defeat have any impact on England ahead of the Ashes?
I don’t think so. I think it’s a big summer for a number of players and to try and cement a place in the England team ready for the upcoming Ashes. These players need to score runs consistently. I felt the bowling was pretty good. England had a few ups and downs with the bowling selection. Dom Bess played just one Test and rested. Moeen Ali played and then he left for home. There’s been quite a lot of ups and downs. I think you need that regular selection. You need to be confident as a team and be confident when you’re out there in the middle. That didn’t quite work. But England need to play better this summer and get ready for the Ashes. I don’t think it’s a case of looking too far ahead. This summer is important and then go from there.
How highly would you rate R Ashwin‘s performance? Is he the best spinner in the world currently?
Ashwin is an outstanding cricketer. He bats brilliantly, bowls, fields. He is just a great all-round cricketer. It was great for Axar to come in and take all those wickets. He made Test cricket look easy, the way he performed. They just bowled consistently in that area. They bowled straight. Some went on with the arm and some spun. They made it very difficult for the England batsmen and the Indian spinners showed their experience on home soil and they bowled fantastically well together.

(TOI Photo)
Axar was just amazing in his maiden Test outing. How will you rate his performance in the series? How difficult will it be for Axar to retain his place in the side once the senior pro-Ravindra Jadeja returns?
That’s a good question. That’s down to again the coaching staff and Virat Kohli. He has now got a little bit of a selection headache about who he is going to go with. Axar performed so well and you will be disappointed if you then got dropped. That’s the beauty of sport and cricket, players coming through injury and doing well and then they cement the place. Only time will tell who India will actually pick. Axar would also want to do well in other conditions, like Ashwin and the other players showcase how good they are in English conditions or in New Zealand.
How will you describe James Anderson? He falls into the GOAT category. Going by what he has already achieved in his career would you say he is underrated?
Absolutely. He is phenomenal. You look at him, he still looks 28 or 29. He looks so fixed. And he’s still got the skills and he’s still doing it on a daily basis. So, I would really like to see him play in the Ashes. He’s hugely important for England. He’s that go-to man who can take wickets and he’s got the skills. He’s arguably one of the best fast bowlers ever. With his record, and he’s got better and better. He is like a fine wine.

(Getty Images)

Source link


  1. Jvwxsting March 8, 2021
  2. KgooEvows March 8, 2021
  3. Fjwhsnopy March 8, 2021
  4. KgooEvows March 8, 2021
  5. AgscGroom March 8, 2021
  6. Nndosnopy March 8, 2021
  7. KgooEvows March 8, 2021
  8. Nndosnopy March 8, 2021
  9. JbvdGroom March 8, 2021
  10. AgscGroom March 8, 2021
  11. JbvdGroom March 8, 2021
  12. success March 8, 2021

Leave a Reply