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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

India vs England, Test series: Review hard and return better, Baz mantra 

Sometimes you can get away with things, but when you’re exposed in the way we have been in the back end of this series in particular, it does require some pretty deep thinking and some adjustment to make sure we’re staying true to what we believe in, says Brendon McCullum

Reuters, PTI London Published 12.03.24, 09:22 AM
Ben Stokes and (left) Brendon McCullum during the just-concluded Test series.

Ben Stokes and (left) Brendon McCullum during the just-concluded Test series. Getty Images

England will have to do some deep thinking about their approach, Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum said, after being “exposed” on the India tour but the head coach is convinced that the first series defeat under his watch will make them a better side.

The five-Test series was billed as the biggest test of England’s aggressive approach to the format. Their bid to hand Rohit Sharma’s side their first Test series defeat on home soil since 2012 got off to the perfect start in Hyderabad, where Ollie Pope played arguably the best knock by a touring batter in India.

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But that was as good as it got for the tourists.

“Sometimes you can get away with things, but when you’re exposed in the way we have been in the back end of this series in particular, it does require some pretty deep thinking and some adjustment to make sure we’re staying true to what we believe in,” McCullum told BBC Sport.

“If anything we got more timid as the series went on.”

McCullum said they would be a better side when they host the West Indies for a three-Test series in July, followed by another series against Sri Lanka.

“A lot of good will come out of this tour. I’m 100% positive about that,” he added. “We will be a better cricket team for the experience, although it hurts a lot at the moment.”

‘Stokes missed a trick’

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell punched holes in Ben Sto­kes’ aggressive leadership tactics in India, saying some of the England skipper’s decisions were responsible for their 1-4 drubbing.

He said while the need of the hour on the third evening of the fourth Test in Ranchi was to give the ball to Jimmy Anderson to make early breakthroughs, Stokes decided on part-time spinner Joe Root. India did not lose a wicket in the post-tea session, scoring 40 invaluable runs to put the pressure back on England.

India won the Test by five wickets to take a 3-1 lead.

“Stokes missed a trick in Ranchi... At a time when Stok­es needed to be extremely br­ave as captain and hope he got lucky, he was abnormally conservative,” said Chappell in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

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