England Have Lost Batting Rhythm After Playing On Two Difficult Surfaces: Nasser Hussain

England Have Lost Batting Rhythm After Playing On Two Difficult Surfaces: Nasser Hussain

Ollie Pope of England (BCCI)
Ollie Pope of England (BCCI)

Former England captain-turned commentator Nasser Hussain has said that batting on two incredibly tough surfaces in Chennai and Ahmedabad has disrupted the rhythm of the English batsmen.

After posting 578 in the first innings of the first Test, England have failed to register in excess of 200 runs in each of their last five innings.

With the pitches in the last two Tests being raging turners, the Joe Root-led batting-unit has been found wanting against the duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin.

Their batting hit its nadir in the just-concluded two-day Test in Ahmedabad where Axar Patel and Ashwin walked past their line-up in both innings to rout them for 112 and 81.

While a majority of batsmen fell to the ball that did not turn in the third Test, Hussain said that it was the ball before that turned and bounced that sowed seeds of doubt in England batsmen’s mind, eventually leading to their demise.

”Especially on this pitch, where one spins prodigiously and the other skids on, you lose all kind of rhythm. That’s what successive Test matches on these sorts of pitches do for your mindset,” said Nasser Hussain on the Sky Sports Podcast. “England looked like startled rabbits in that second innings. I don’t think it was an 81 all-out pitch but this was a much tougher pitch than Chennai – the sort of pitch I hated,” he added.

Nasser Hussain, Axar Patel, Virat Kohli
Axar Patel [Image- BCCI]
The former England captain also heaped high praise on Axar Patel for his incredible accuracy.

”Axar is very accurate. He bowls stump to stump and some balls turn and some don’t. Most of his wickets came from balls that didn’t turn, so people will look at that and say ‘why not play for those straight deliveries?’ but it’s the ball before,” Hussain added.

”You could also argue that it was that pitch before in Chennai when everything spun big but it was the also the ball that spun big on Zak Crawley on day one here. Every England batsman thought ‘I have to go for the spin’ but most got done with the one that didn’t spin,” he said.

India, England, Zak Crawley, Axar Patel
Zak Crawley [Image Credit: BCCI]
There has been a lot of debate around the nature of the pitch in the English press and among retired cricketers. But Nasser Hussain noted that the players and coaches haven’t whinged about the conditions or the umpiring in the media.

”It is all about the mentality of that side now and to be fair to them a lot of the chat about the pitches and umpires has come from outside the dressing room. I have not heard a single England player say these conditions are unfair,” noted Nasser Hussain.

Hussain also went on to laud Zak Crawley for the brilliant half-century that he made in the first innings of the pink ball Test. The former middle-order batsman reposed his faith in the under-fire English batting-unit to come good in the final Test.

”They have to find a way and Zak Crawley’s first-innings fifty was a positive. I know some of it was before spin came on. but it was one of the best half-centuries I have seen from a young England player – the rhythm, the fluency. If Zak can do it after a couple of games out injured, then Ollie Pope can do it, Jonny Bairstow can do it,” Nasser Hussain signed off.

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Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.