Euro 2020 Special

Strengths and Weaknesses of English Cricket Team India Needs To Be Wary Of

The past year and a half has been pretty difficult for English cricket. Before the start of the home series against New Zealand, the Three Lions had lost 17 Tests out of 18 leading to the resignation of Joe Root as the captain and the sacking of Chris Silverwood as the head coach.

They went on to appoint Brendon McCullum as the Test team head coach and Ben Stokes took over the red-ball captaincy. The turnaround in English cricket has been quite staggering in the recently-concluded series against the Kiwis. Not only did they go on to win all three matches in the series, they did so by playing a refreshing brand of cricket. With India next up for a one-off Test at Edgbaston, we take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of this English team that the Men in Blue need to be careful of going into this series-deciding Test.



The ‘Baz Ball’

In Brendon McCullum’s first interview as the new head coach of the English Test team, he mentioned that he wanted his team to play fearless cricket. It is safe to say that the message has gone down well with the squad as they played outstanding aggressive cricket against New Zealand. The English media has quickly labelled this new strategy as ‘Baz Ball’ and this new era has started in the best possible manner.

Lethal Middle-Order

The middle-order of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow can send shivers down the spine of any opposition team, especially when all three are in the kind of form they currently find themselves in. Twice in the series against New Zealand, England went on to chase around 300 in the final innings of the match and that too with utmost confidence.

The team has also found itself in troubling situations like 55/6 at Headingley in the third Test but has played some brilliant counter-attacking cricket to resurrect the situation and put a respectable first innings total on the board.

Team India will have to formulate a rock-solid strategy against this hard-hitting middle-order of England. It will be important to keep them quiet for long periods and test their patience as these three batters love to score quickly.

Class of Broad and Anderson

Surprisingly, England’s two most experienced bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad were omitted from the Test tour to the West Indies earlier this year. Many feared that this might be the end of the dynamic duo but Stokes’ first step as the English captain was to get back the experience of Broad and Anderson in the Test team. It worked out well in the series win against the Kiwis. The duo will be hoping to trouble the Indian batters as well in the upcoming Test.



Fragile Top-Order

With all the positivity flowing around English cricket currently, the fact of the matter is that in the three Tests against New Zealand they could have easily gone on to lose the match. There were positions in all three games where they found their backs up against the wall but an individual or two stepped up in those tough situations.

The biggest concern would be the lack of confidence the top order possess currently. Even though Alex Lees and Ollie Pope had a good time in the three matches but they have glaring technical errors that could be exploited by the Indian new ball bowlers. Zak Crawley is hopelessly out of touch and the Indian bowlers will be looking to continue putting the pressure on the young opener.

Susceptible to Batting Collapses

Given that the top order has few technical issues, this English batting is susceptible to batting collapses. We’ve seen way too many in the past year or so from the same set of batters. Getting the wicket of Joe Root early against the new ball is key and post that Bairstow and Stokes take too many risks while batting. 

Weaker Bowling Attack Than Before

The series last year featured the likes of Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes along with James Anderson as the fast bowlers. The three mentioned above are injured and England has an inexperienced bowler in Matthew Potts replacing them.

Jack Leach is the sole spinner and will be riding high on confidence after the ten-wicket haul in the previous match but these are inexperienced bowlers and Team India will be confident of getting the better of them in this final Test.

Read: A List of India’s Bowling Test Captains Over the Years




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