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India tour of England 2014: Geoffrey Boycott calls for Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root to be axed from ODI side

Geoffrey Boycott maintained that England © Getty Images
Geoffrey Boycott maintained that England would struggle against spin with the current lineup © Getty Images

Sep 1, 2014

Slamming the English cricket team for batting like “chumps” against world champions India, former England captain Geoffrey Boycott has said skipper Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root should not be a part of the one-day side.

“England have gone into this series with three orthodox batsmen in our top four in Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root. They are lovely technical batsmen for Test cricket but you should not have all three of them in your one-day team,” Boycott wrote in his column in ‘The Telegraph’.

The legendary batsman also said there was a dearth of spinners and a dearth of batsmen who can play the spinning ball in the England team. “It is quite clear why England are struggling in one-day cricket at the moment: they cannot play the turning ball. We are playing the world champions, India, and we bat like chumps,” Boycott said.

Even as England play slow bowling well on flat pitches when it does not spin, Boycott said the batsmen struggle when the ball is turning.

“It is a different ball game when the ball turns. Then they are creasebound and terrified to use their feet against the spinners. At Trent Bridge on Saturday, India had four spinners who bowled 30 overs and took six for 112 between them. It was not a raging turner, it just turned a little bit, and it was not the first time this had happened to England,” Boycott said.

Criticising the selection of Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes, Boycott said they are all exactly the same, bowling at a similar pace and having no variations.

“After the match Cook admitted England selected them because all three can bat. It was a safety-first policy to get England out of trouble with late-order runs if the batsmen failed. We are still thinking in the old fashioned way from when I played, pack your batting and bowl fast medium line and length.

“That only works on seaming swinging pitches but the next World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand and will not have those types of pitches,” he said.

“They are guilty of selecting the ODI team on Test performances and central contracts, this is wrong thinking,” Boycott added.

The former captain said that the team must learn to accept constructive criticism from ex-players. “Just look how Cook responded when his ‘so-called friend’ [Graeme] Swann made constructive comments about England’s one-day team and Cook got his ‘knickers in a twist’,” Boycott said.

“Now Swann has retired and it seems [Monty] Panesar has lost his focus. We cannot play spinners and we do not have one to bowl at the opposition,” he concluded.

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