India can't stop England from becoming world No. 1, opines Boycott

Geoff Boycott lavished praise on the England team which won the first Test by 196 runs Getty Images

London: Jul 27, 2011

Former captain Geoffrey Boycott does not foresee world number one India bouncing back in the ongoing Test series against England and believes the hosts are well on their way to clinch the top spot in ICC Rankings.

“The hosts are all fired up. Confidence is high, they believe they can beat India and they are hungry to be No.1 in the world. I can’t see India stopping them and it would be an amazing turnaround if they beat England,” Boycott said.

“The England team are in a very healthy situation. They should polish India off in the second Test and press home the advantage they gained at Lord’s, which marked the beginning of the end for India as the world’s No.1 Test team,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Boycott feels the Indian bowling attack, which was ripped apart by the English before the hosts won by 196 runs in the Lord’s Test, lacks the zing to worry England.

“There is not much to choose between both sides’ batting. There is strength in depth in both teams and we expect India to improve, but their bowling is not good enough to worry England. Zaheer Khan is a quality bowler but even before the series started I never expected him to survive four Test matches in five weeks. His ability has never been in doubt but his fitness has always been a worry.

“Harbhajan Singh may have 400 Test-match wickets but all the England batsmen played him with ease at Lord’s. I think he is too slow through the air. He is going to have to change his trajectory to make any impression,” he added.

The former batsman feels it will be a challenge for India to survive the hostile bowling attack of the England.

“I know the Indian batting had problems with Sachin Tendulkar weighed down by the weight of expectation at Lord’s and a viral infection in the second innings,” Boycott said.

“Gautam Gambhir had a badly bruised elbow but even so, if the ball swings or seams a bit off the pitch, the Indian batting will come under more intense pressure due to the pace and consistency of the England attack.

The 70-year-old also had a lot of good things to say about England’s pace trio of James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad.

“James Anderson is now a top-class bowler. His movement of the ball is his key strength. If you keep swinging and seaming at a pretty good pace, and put it in difficult areas for batsmen often enough, you will get wickets, and that is what he does.

“Chris Tremlett has been a revelation since he came into the Test side. He is coming down from that high action like Joel Garner and Curtly Ambrose. It is disconcerting for opposing batsman.

“At Lord’s, Stuart Broad was unrecognisable from the guy who bowled all over the place against Sri Lanka. The key at Lord’s was that he bowled with pace and pitched it up around off stump,” he added.

The cricketer-turned-commentator said England also have the advantage of having two quality back-up bowlers.

“The great thing for England is they have two good back-up seamers queuing up to come into the team. Tim Bresnan has done wonders when he has played. He has surprised me and probably deserved to play at Lord’s,” he said.