Calcutta: After paying the Indians back in their own coin at the Wankhede, England have bolstered their armoury ahead of the Eden Test with off-spinner James Tredwell joining the squad.
The official word on Tredwell’s arrival is that he is here as a cover for Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that the experienced Tredwell’s addition is only to ensure that the England batsmen get more practice against spin, in their quest of the four-match series which is tied at 1-1 at the moment.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha will be eager to protect their reputation after Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen made them look like amateur tweakers.
Jonny Bairstow, who came into the playing XI in place of Ian Bell in the Mumbai Test, admits that they have a tough task ahead, but adds confidently that they are self-sufficient in dealing with the challenge with Panesar, Swann and Tredwell giving them enough.
“We’ve got our own set of spinners in Monty, Graeme, and now Tredwell too… We’re playing them regularly at the nets, and that helps us to sharpen our skills against spin bowling,” Bairstow said, during a media conference, on Sunday.
“Still, we have a massive challenge going forward… A tough job awaits us, we need to cope with the conditions that are conducive to spin and reverse-swing,” he added.
As much as Pietersen and Cook’s knocks had crushed the Indian attack, it lifted the morale of the England team to appreciable heights. According to Bairstow, those knocks instilled confidence in the other players to go beyond the average.
“Both of them had played outstandingly well… KP’s innings, particularly, was a pleasure to watch. Overall, it’s exciting times for the batting unit. Besides, the bowlers too had been boosted by the knocks… That stands us in good stead to continue the good work in the upcoming Test as well,” Bairstow said.
If the loss in Ahmedabad was a rude opener to the series for England, the triumph in Mumbai made them believe that they are capable of defeating the Indians in the subcontinent. As Bairstow said, the gap between the Wankhede Test and Wednesday’s Eden tie, has helped them rest and “recharge” their batteries.
“To be frank, the morale of the team is very high at the moment… We had a few days’ off after the Mumbai Test, which helped us recharge our batteries,” he said.
With Ian Bell back after a paternity leave, Bairstow is aware that he might have to sit out the third Test. But rather than losing sleep over that, he prefers to fine tune his batting with Graham Gooch, the batting consultant of the team.
“The selection matters are not in my hand... I’ll obviously be delighted if I get selected… And for that to happen, I’m working hard at the nets with Gooch,” he informed.
However, to be accurate, it’s Pietersen who has pushed him out of the XI and not Bell.
Bairstow remains unperturbed with the entire situation though. “I’ve had to go through such situations and need to deal with them too... Yes, it was disappointing on being dropped despite having scored 90-odd. But as I said, these matters are not in my hand... What I need to do is just continue working hard on my batting… That’s it,” Bairstow was to the point.