Former England middle-order batsman Ian Bell has come down hard on the now controversial rotating policy that the Joe Root-led visitors have implemented during the winters tours of Sri Lanka and India following their ten-wicket drubbing at the Narendra Modi Stadium in what turned out to be the shortest Test match since the second World War.
With one eye on their gruelling international assignments and the demand of the bio-bubble environment, England have adopted a rotation policy in order to ensure that their multi-format players remain at the pink of their health- both physically and mentally.
But with the Joe Root-led unit suffering back-to-back defeats in Chennai and Ahmedabad, the much-revered rotation policy has come under the scanner with former cricketers accusing England of prioritizing white-ball cricket over Test matches.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Ian Bell, who has reckoned that India, unlike England, will not opt for rotation if they go 1-0 or 2-0 up in the forthcoming five-match Test series in the UK.
Bell added that the Test series against India in India remains a pinnacle for England cricket alongside the Ashes and the best players should always play in a series of such high magnitude.
“India are going to come to England in the summer. If they are 2-0 up or 1-0 up, will they rotate? I don’t think they will. These tours, Englishmen going to Australia or India, they are the pinnacle….if you win in those conditions, they are remembered for a long long time. And I know for a fact when India come to England and if they go up 1-0, they would not be rotating their best bowlers, or leaving somebody out, they want to win,” Ian Bell told ESPNCricinfo.
Bell also reckoned that England have been guilty of planning too far ahead instead of staying in the moment, alluding to the much-talked-about Ashes in Australia at the end of the year.
“International cricket you have to be so careful, between the balance of looking after your players and …don’t look too far ahead. International cricket changes all time. Form comes in and out as a player. When you are playing well, don’t lose it, don’t change it. Winning combinations are so important to keep against the best teams in the world and I think England have been thinking too far ahead to have a squad for the Ashes,” he said.
This is bigger than the Ashes. This is possibly as big as the Ashes. Why are we rotating in one of the biggest series we can play in. For me, I think that’s where we have got it a little bit wrong,” he added.