You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Judge England after India tour, says Botham

Wisden India logo Wisden India 01-11-2016
© AP Photo

Ian Botham felt England’s tour of the subcontinent should be judged on their performance on the upcoming tour of India, not the loss to Bangladesh.

England, 100 without loss at tea on the third day of the second Test in Dhaka, collapsed to 164 all out on a spin-friendly pitch to lose by 108 runs – their first Test defeat by Bangladesh – on Sunday (October 30) to draw the two-Test series.

The result raised fresh concerns over how England would cope over five Tests in the tricky conditions in India, where the attack will feature R Ashwin, the No. 1-ranked bowler in Test cricket.

“It (a collapse) can happen in that part of the world,” said Botham. “The wickets are tailored, they are designed to spin. When you see spinners opening in Tests with the new ball, you get an idea of what’s coming.

“It’s good for them (Bangladesh). But what they’ve got to do is to start winning outside of their own country. That’s the acid test and that’s what England must do now. At the end of the day, they’ll be judged not so much on what happens in Bangladesh, but they will be judged more on what happens in India.”

© AFP Photo

While questions remained about the quality of England’s spinners, and their batsmen’s ability to play spin, Botham said all was far from lost for Alastair Cook’s side as they headed to India.

“England have got the bowlers who can take the pitch out of the equation with reverse swing,” he said. “If they go out there and they perform, they can win."

Stuart Broad, rested for the Dhaka Test, was likely to lead England’s pace attack and make his 100th Test appearance when the India series open in Rajkot on November 9.

© AFP Photo

“I presented him with his cap when he first played in Colombo,” remembered Botham. “There was stuff about Stuart Broad ‘the enforcer’. He got a bit caught up in that. But he’s bowled his best spells when he bowls at the top of off-stump, Australia at The Oval (when Broad took 4 for 8 in 2009), Australia at Trent Bridge (8 for 15 in 2015).”

As for the decision to rest Broad, Botham said, “Bowlers, rotate them. I was more in the Ben Stokes category. He won’t get rested and I wouldn’t have either.”

Slideshow: 27 cricket world records you must know about

Cricket world records you must know about

Stokes starred with bat and ball in England’s 22-run win in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, and Botham gushed, “I think he’s fantastic. I think he’s box office. I love watching him play, I like his attitude, I like the aggression. He’s the kind of cricketer you’ll cross the road to watch. It is all a learning curve for him now, but he learns quickly.”

Botham, however, felt at least one change to England’s faltering top order was on the cards. “I think someone like Jos Buttler might come into the equation. Spinners, he can destroy them. They (England) are not going to do anything drastic. Maybe Buttler comes in for someone like Gary Ballance, perhaps?”

Watch: Jonty Rhodes' miracle catches

Replay Video

More from Wisden India

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon