England’s first Test victory is not historic
It’s fantastic that England won the first Test match – they put in a really solid performance and it sets up the series beautifully.
But it was a ‘win the toss, win the Test match’ sort of wicket, so batting well on days one and two and giving India absolutely no chance of winning the game is not historic by any stretch of the imagination.
If India had batted first, I think they could have put something similar on the board. Would England have been able to bat second and chase the game? I’m not so sure.
I’m interested to see whether a similar wicket is prepared for the second Test, because it would be really sad if it’s the same scenario – win the toss and win the match.
I don’t want to take anything away from England, it’s a great victory. But I think the talk of it being one of the great wins in their history is a bit much considering that it was given an awful lot of help by the flip of a coin.
Joe Root is an incredible role model
Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope should be picking Root’s brain because they may never play with such a natural player of spin again.
For Joe Root, it’s just about cashing in on this remarkable form now.
Form can come and go, he is bound to suffer dips at some stage in his career, so you just want to pile on the runs while you feel so amazing at the crease.
It’s also so brilliant that he is performing like this while there are a number of younger players in the side.
The likes of Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope should be watching him closely – how he practises and how he goes about his preparation for a game.
I really hope they’re picking his brain because they may never play with such a natural player of spin again.
He’s scored over 600 runs in three subcontinent Test matches so, obviously, he has a complete command over his discipline.
Jimmy Anderson is a global superstar
When you hear Root talk about batting it is clear that he is absolutely on top of what he is doing, and the same goes for Jimmy Anderson with his bowling.
He knows where to bowl, knows his lengths and lines, and knows how to deliver them.
Anderson’s performance in the first Test came as no surprise – he did it when we won in India in 2012, too.
To be the greatest for your country, you need to have ‘done it’ it all conditions. Jimmy has done that! Huge WIN for England!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) February 9, 2021
He’s transformed his game to be able to operate in subcontinent conditions, and he is now a globally-recognised star who can deliver in all conditions.
At the end of your career, you want to be remembered as a player who could perform in each country you played in. You are remembered in a greater light by each country if you mastered your art there.
Of course, Ashes cricket is crucial in England, and Anderson has ticked that box off. But he can go to India and Indians remember how good he was, he has great respect in South Africa, the same in the Caribbean, New Zealand and everywhere else. And we know how good he is in England.
One technical point stands Anderson out from the rest.
There were two bowlers I faced who, when the ball started reverse-swinging, could disguise which way they were going to move it incredibly well: Anderson and Zaheer Khan.
I never knew which way the ball was going to go because of the way they hid it with their hand all the way until the point of delivery.
Anderson used to do it in the nets, and Zaheer Khan in Test matches.
I always used to watch the ball until the point of delivery, trying to pick up on which way it was going to swing, and every single other bowler that I ever faced gave me an inkling.
When the ball starts to reverse-swing, you have even less of a clue against Anderson – and Zaheer Khan, previously – because of their masterful deception.
Broad’s last chance to create a legacy in India
Whereas Anderson has now conquered each country he has played in, the one thing that Stuart Broad hasn’t done is perform in India.
His record – 10 wickets in six matches at an average of nearly 54 – isn’t spectacular at all.
Anderson and Broad are hailed as an incredible partnership, and of course they have been, but this is the difference between the two.
If Broad wants to be globally recognised as a bowler that delivers in all conditions, he’s actually under quite a lot of pressure to perform in the second Test.
Not only does replacing an in-form Anderson in the team bring its own demands, but it will also probably be his last chance to nail it in India.
He is an experienced and wonderful bowler, though, so he has every chance.
The Indian captaincy debate continues to grow
I absolutely don’t expect things to change, but it is impossible to avoid the continuing debate around the Indian Test match captaincy.
Virat Kohli has now lost four consecutive Test matches as skipper, and has Ajinkya Rahane, who just led India to a famous series win in Australia, in his side.
On social media, every radio station, every television channel and every news channel, there are very deep discussions around what should happen.
Captaining your country is very difficult and unfortunately this is the nature of the beast.
It’s one more distraction that Kohli doesn’t need but he is, of course, capable of leading his side to a victory in the second Test to quieten things down a bit.
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