After the first two hard-fought Tests in what is an intense five-match series between two top nations, India and England, both the teams are off to a short break before the third Test at Rajkot on 15th February. While the English team has flown to Abu Dhabi, where they will reunite with their families for a six-day break, the Indian team has also shot off to their respective homes only to rejoin at Rajkot before the third test.
After winning the first Test in a close encounter, the England team was handed a comprehensive 106-run defeat in the second test that has put their ‘Bazball’ approach under criticism, especially from their supporters back home.
But the England coach Brendon McCullum has assured the England media and supporters that they will come back stronger and harder at the Indian team in the third test. He also emphasized the need for this break amid a gruelling series between two worthy opponents.
Before departing for Abu Dhabi for the break Brendon McCullum said, “There won’t be a whole lot of training,” said McCullum, the England head coach, before their departure on Wednesday. “We have had plenty of training days, two Tests and this is an opportunity to step away from the heat of the battle. I was talking to Rahul Dravid [India’s head coach] and he said all his boys are shooting home as well.
“Home for us is a little way away so we chose Abu Dhabi and we are going to enjoy the families [joining us]. Then when we get to Rajkot, we drop the shoulder and go hard.”
McCullum defends Joe Root for his approach
England’s premier batter is under the scanner for his poor form with the bat in recent times and his approach to batting in tests which is being labelled as too aggressive for most people’s liking.
Joe Root has been the stalwart of England’s test batting in modern times, especially in subcontinent conditions where he has scored 2,169 runs at a modest average of 46. Many former cricketers and analysts believe that it will be better for Root if he goes back to his older style of batting rather than being too aggressive to suit the ‘Bazball’ approach.
McCullum came in support of Root’s shot selection in the second test and said, “People will look at the dismissal but look at the method of his option,” said McCullum, who confirmed Root’s finger had improved. “He was trying to get the field back so he could milk them. It is the bravery you have to take at times and sometimes you get out doing it. But that’s just the way the game rolls.
“There is no doubt from our point of view in that approach. There are three Tests left; the opportunity to score a ton of runs.”
With the series leveled at 1-1, the stage is set for an exciting clash in the remaining three matches of the series and it is expected to be a close and intense series once both the teams rejoin at Rajkot to lock horns against each other in the third test.