Former England skipper Alastair Cook has asserted that beating England at home will require some effort from India in the five-match Test series. He also added that he feels sorry for England’s Test skipper Joe Root as he didn’t have his best team available at different points this year.
After starting the year remarkably well against Sri Lanka, with a 2-0 win and then a triumph in the Test series opener against India, England have had their fair share of struggles. They were beaten black and blue by India 1-3 and then New Zealand rolled over them 1-0, marking England’s first Test series loss against the Black Caps at home since 1999.
With India entering the UK shores on the confidence of winning their last overseas series against Australia, and making it to the WTC Final, it will be hard to stop them in the five-Test series for the Three Lions given the batting frailties of the hosts. However, former England skipper Alastair Cook reckons that beating England on their turf will be a big challenge for India.
“India would have been here for a long time as well so could get mentally fatigued by the end of the tour. India will start pretty well but, consistently over five games, to beat England at home is a monumental effort. So I think if England hang in with India early on, there’s no reason why they can’t win,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Cook as saying, reported HT.
In the home series against New Zealand, England were missing a plethora of stars – Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes. Cook further added that with England likely to play a stronger side against India, their balance will be better and it will be a great battle.
“It will be a better side with the players coming back against India. They’ll clearly be better balanced which, I think, is a massive issue for them and forced some strange selections against New Zealand, like no spinner on a dry wicket. India have shown how good they are at the moment because they’re in the World Test Championship final but, over five Test matches in England, England are hard to beat at home, and I’m expecting a very tight battle,” said Cook.
The English cricket expert also asserted that he feels sorry for Joe Root as he hasn’t had his best side with him in Tests this year and reckons that the side missed the experience of their seasoned players against a strong New Zealand side.
“You’ve got a Test captain who hasn’t been able to play his best side, yet we seem to be playing a full-strength side in the T20s against Sri Lanka. The decisions don’t look like they’ve been made correctly. Of course, they’re trying their best to make the right decisions for the right reasons, but when you’re playing for England, you get judged on end results most of the time, so you’d have to say it hasn’t worked,” he added.
“I genuinely feel sorry for Joe Root because he hasn’t had his best players available. You can’t buy that experience of guys like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali. Those kind of players make a big difference. When you look at it in isolation, it doesn’t make that much sense what happened, but how they got there you can kind of half understand. It’s been a tough one, and they just got found out against a better team in that New Zealand series.”