With English batsmen continuing to struggle against Kuldeep Yadav, England batting coach Graham Thorpe, on Friday (July 13), spoke on what the hosts need to do in order to handle the chinaman spinner.
Kuldeep has completely bamboozled the Englishmen. The left-arm spinner has exposed England’s frailties against spin with two career-best spells. In the first T20I, it was his 5-wicket haul that had blown away England. Eoin Morgan & Co. managed to handle Kuldeep well in the following game as the spinner went wicketless for 34 runs.
However, Kuldeep once again tormented England in the first ODI. Asked to bat first, England were off to a good start. Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy added 71 runs in ten overs. However, the game turned on its head once Kohli introduced Kuldeep in the attack.
He dismissed Roy on the very second ball of his first over. The tweaker then went on dismiss Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and David Willey to finish with career-best figures of six for 25.
As a result, England were all out for just 268. In reply, India romped home without appearing to break a sweat thanks to Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 137 and a 75-run knock by Kohli.
Not surprisingly, the biggest concern for England right now is how to deal with Kuldeep. And speaking ahead of the second ODI, Thorpe had some advise for his batsmen.
“India are a very good measure of where we are at,” Thorpe said. “The one thing about him (Kuldeep) playing is that you start to formulate plans. The more you face the trajectory, the flight, the speed of the ball, they’re the things you pick up on.
“You’ve also got to set up as a player against it: your method, your footwork, your position on the crease. You have to react quite quickly, especially in one-day cricket when you’re always looking for opportunities to score.
“He shut us down and you have to give him credit. It’s up to us and our players to keep an open mind, accept it’s happened, but we’ve got to turn it around pretty quickly as we are playing again on Saturday,” added Thorpe.
What has made things even tougher for England is Joe Root’s poor form. In two T20Is and one ODI, he has scored 0, 9 and 3. As a result, England’s middle-order has failed to put up a good show. Such has been his form that he was even dropped by England for the first time in nearly five years for last Sunday’s T20 defeat at Bristol.
However, Thorpe believes Root is just one good knock away from regaining his form.
“He’s been a massive run scorer for England in all formats,” said Thrope. “He’s hitting the ball very well in the nets. All top batsmen go through this. It’s probably the first time in his international career where he hasn’t spent as much time at the crease. In terms of how he is as a bloke, he’s the same guy in the dressing room. He’s practising the same way. He probably just needs one knock in the middle.”