November 21, 2012
Following England’s dismal showing at Ahmedabad, attention now switches to their line up for the second test at Mumbai which starts on Friday. Skipper and batting hero Alastair Cook has acknowledged that a big improvement is needed if England are going to compete in this four match series. Changes will surely be made as England aim belatedly to kick-start their campaign.
First of all a replacement is needed for Ian Bell, who is now back in England with his wife and their new born child. Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan are vying for this place, with Bairstow the clear favourite on account of his early tour form and impressive showing in England’s last test against South Africa.
With spin always playing a dominant role in the sub-continent the general consensus was that the balance of the attack in the first test was awry and that two specialist spinners rather than three seamers are needed in Indian conditions. Samit Patel, although a useful contributor, provides neither penetration nor control, so it would seem as if Monty Panesar will be a shoe in for Mumbai, probably at the expense of Tim Bresnan who was generally ineffectual in Ahmedabad.
There had been some talk that vice-captain Stuart Broad might also be facing the axe, but reports that Steven Finn has still not regained fitness Broad with a further opportunity to show those “ex-pros in the commentary box” that he can really cut the mustard in India. Patel, despite also failing twice with the bat, is likely to keep out Morgan, at least for the time being.
The Scoop’s view is that England will make no more than two changes for Mumbai, allowing those who had horrors in the first test an opportunity to redeem themselves. The worry for England is that Cook, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann are unlikely to be able to match their heroics of last week. Certainly Captain Cook will be looking for more from senior players such as Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Broad and Jimmy Anderson.
The Scoop 21/11/12