Home > Features >

India tour of England 2014: Ben Stokes expected to lift England’s spirits

Alastair Cook (left) will continue to face pressure, but Ben Stokes' addition strengthens England © Getty Images
Alastair Cook (left) will continue to face pressure, but Ben Stokes’ addition strengthens England © Getty Images

England suffered a major roadblock on their way to resurrection after their Ashes debacle with a morale-sapping loss against Sri Lanka at Headingley. The five-match Test series against India surely presents another shot at climbing up the rankings. R Vishal analyses the current England squad, Ben Stokes’ comeback and whether it can match up to the battering ram that steamrollered the Men in Blue in 2011.

The year was 2011: India were still drowning in the massive wave of national euphoria that engulfed the country after clinching the ICC World Cup 2011 on home soil. England, on the other hand had a World Cup to forget — an ignominy of a follow-up to their thumping Ashes win Down Under.

A jaded India ran into a side filled with wounded pride and a bloody minded determination to get to the summit of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings. A resounding 4-0 win rewarded them with just that. Yet again, England find themselves licking their wounds after a dramatic penultimate ball loss against Sri Lanka. What do England have in store three years down the line?

Captain Alastair Cook:

Critics and social media aficionados have dubbed the series as a battle of conservatism. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s tactical acumen and strategies away from home has been under the scanner for a few years now. It is a stark contrast to his identity as a skipper in the shorter formats of the game though. Alastair Cook has got a fair bit of stick for his a safety-first approach as a batsman and as skipper recently.

Spin legend Shane Warne has been the torchbearer of the Cook-bashing brigade and verbal volleys have oscillated back and forth recently.  It’s now or never for the English captain. Another inept series could signal the end of the road for the Essex opener’s time as skipper.

Batting:

England would certainly be fancying their chances here. Cook has feasted on the Indian bowling attack ever since his debut against this opposition. One of the biggest pluses for England from the Sri Lanka Tests is the fact that their top seven, except Cook, had a good outing with the bat. Alongside the classy Ian Bell, a batting line-up Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali give the hosts a formidable look. Even rookie Sam Robson now has a century to his name. They can ill-afford an inexplicable final session collapse on Day Four of the Headingley Test and would have surely learnt from the bitter experience.

Bowling:

James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett can run through teams in the Old Blighty with ease. The team’s performance in 2011 whitewash is definitely a major psychological boost and many of the current lot of Indian batmen haven’t played  a Test match in the country. England might have missed a trick in not trying out a frontline spinner to replace Graeme Swann against Sri Lanka. Here again, they continue to bank on Moeen Ali to take that spot. They have instead included an extra all-rounder in Chris Woakes in the squad. For the short and the long term, this lack of trust with their pool of spinners in the domestic circuit is cutting into the team’s options. They also run the risk of being predictable, despite having bowlers par-excellence in Anderson and Broad in their ranks.

Ben Stokes

England’s new ray of hope and a potential great, Ben Stokes makes a comeback into the side after suffering a long injury lay-off.  Standing tall with his performances despite his teammates wiling in the Australian summer, Stokes has already been sounded out as Andrew Flintoff’s successor. A lion-hearted cricketer who is unflinching under pressure, the 23-year old will undoubtedly lift England in all areas.

Squad:

Alastair Cook (c), Sam Robson, Gary Balance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior(w), Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett, James Anderson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Hashim Amla lauds Imran Tahir ahead of Sri Lanka vs South Africa second Test at Colombo

India tour of England 2014: Sourav Ganguly backs Alastair Cook as the skipper

Ishant Sharma signs deal with Cornerstone Sport

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Stuart Binny and the selection conundrum for India’s third Test against England at Southampton

Can America be the ‘Land of Opportunity’ for cricket?

Graham Gooch’s fabulous numbers in all forms of cricket

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Diet Tip #23 – Switch to rice bran oil for better health

Taiwan plane crash: 51 killed as plane crashes during emergency landing

Apple OS X Yosemite beta will be available to the public from tomorrow

Alia Bhatt feels she is too young to work with Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir!

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

BJP calls Sania Mirza ‘daughter-in-law’ of Pakistan, criticises Telangana for honouring her

Research questions satellite data over Antarctic sea expansion

Moon Moon Sen and Arindam Seal will also be honoured at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Samman!

TransAsia Airways makes emergency landing in Taiwan, more than 50 feared dead

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here