Joe Root hinted that he and Ben Stokes will take the responsibility of fielding at the crucial position.
Joe Root hinted that he and Ben Stokes will take the responsibility of fielding at the crucial position.

England have so far dropped 15 catches in the slip cordon in the first three Tests against India, including four off Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s bat. That alone has cost England 142 runs and has helped Kohli to 440 runs – the highest in the series so far by a long margin.

And England skipper Joe Root knows the value of holding on to the catches and keeping that in mind, Root hinted that he and Ben Stokes will take the responsibility of fielding at the crucial position.

“We need to start taking some chances,” said Root during the pre-match presser ahead of the 4th Test at Southampton. “It has been tough for the guys in there and I think we (Root and Stokes) are the most experienced players to go in and do that.”

“We have fielded a lot there before and probably the hardest thing to get your head around in Test cricket is dealing with when you’ve dropped one and it’s easier to asked the experienced guys that have done a lot more to handle it better.

“Although we have not necessarily been at our best in the last year-and-a-half ourselves we are still very good fielders in that position and hopefully we can have a good week and take the chances first time around,” he went on to add further.

While Jonny Baristow will not be keeping wickets owing to his thumb injury, the Yorkshireman will have much larger role to play batting at number four, with Ollie Pope dropped in favour of spin bowling allrounder Moeen Ali, who most likely will be slotted to bat at No.7. That would mean Jos Buttler will also be bumped up to No.5 and Stokes at No.6.

“The way Jos and Ben batted at five and six in the second innings, rightly so they should be given the opportunity to do that again,” Root explained.

“It was a fine partnership and a great example to the rest of the guys of how to play Test cricket in difficult circumstance. Ultimately that was a really good lesson for the rest of the group coming in to this week.

“I feel it gives us great depth in our batting with Moeen coming in at seven, with the runs that he’s got in the last couple of weeks – even though that was a three for Worcestershire – whenever he has played for England he has normally performed at his best at seven,” he added.

“I feel it gives us great depth in our batting with Moeen coming in at seven, with the runs that he’s got in the last couple of weeks – even though that was a three for Worcestershire – whenever he has played for England he has normally performed at his best at seven.”

For Kohli, the significance of the fourth Test against England at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl was not lost as he sat down to face the media on match eve.