Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

England have to look at quality of back-up seamers: Geoffrey Boycott

Woakes_AP_m Back up seamers, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan were left struggling in the absence of Stuart Broad on what turned out to be the final day of the Manchester Test. (Source: AP)
Press Trust of India | London | Posted: August 11, 2014 5:20 pm

Like all other Englishmen, Geoffrey Boycott is also delighted with England’s terrific turn around in the ongoing series against India but feels the hosts need to improve upon three key areas before the fifth and final Test, starting August 15 at The Oval.

Boycott lauded England’s terrific performance in the fourth Test at the Old Trafford which the home team won by an innings and 54 runs inside three days to take a 2-1 lead in the series and turn their fortunes around after the disaster at Lord’s.

He, however, issued a warning bell and said there are still areas — back up seam bowling, opener Sam Robson’s form and English batsman’s ability to handle short balls — where Alastair Cook’s side must improve.

“It has been a terrific performance by England to turn it all around after the disaster at Lord’s. Although we want to enjoy the team’s success and believe England have turned the corner we should sound a note of caution because there are three areas they need to improve,” Boycott wrote in column for ‘The Daily Telegraph’.

“They have to look at the quality of their back-up seam bowlers, address the weaknesses of opening batsman Sam Robson and all our batsmen have to improve against the short ball.

While Boycott is not impressed with back-up seamers Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan, he also questioned opener Robson’s place in the team.

“While James Anderson and Stuart Broad are match winners, at the moment if both of them ever get injured or are out at the same time for any reason, England’s seam bowling does not look threatening,” he wrote.

“When England’s back-up seamers — Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan — were bowling at Old Trafford there was a huge difference in quality, aggression and control. There was a release of pressure on the opposition batsmen,” he said.

“His (Robson’s) judgement on what to play and what to leave around off stump is suspect. He gets out caught in the slip cordon or playing no stroke. The better the new ball bowler, the more balls he will put in the corridor of uncertainty at pace,” said Boycott.

“My final point is this. Broad hooking and getting smashed on the nose highlighted the whole team’s problem
against the short ball. Even before he got hit he pulled the two previous balls for six but was not in control of either shot. A number of our players have a big problem and will not accept it,” he added.

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