Do not go with two spinners, warns Boycott

Published: Wednesday, March 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Going into the second Test with two spinners would not be a good idea for the visitors, considering the fact that the Indian batsmen can play spin ''with a stick of rhubarb'', warned former England captain Geoffrey Boycott.

Writing for BBC, Boycott said after the drawn Test in Nagpur, England think-tank was grappling with a selection problem for the second Test.

''I would do away with the Somerset lad Ian Blackwell and the selectors might want to replace him with Shaun Udal in a straight swap.'' ''But I'm not so sure two spinners is the way to go because the Indian batsmen can play spin on these pitches with a stick of rhubarb. England might as well play another seamer,'' he said.

''In the last match, spinners had very little effect on the game and the seamers had to do a lot of donkey work. Unless the wicket turns a great deal and the spinners become match-winners then they're money for old rope,'' he said.

Explaining further, Boycott said, ''If we continue to go with two spinners by playing Udal, the danger is that with three Test matches back to back we are going to overbowl our three seamers.'' ''They are our main strength and we don't want to take away our aces. If you think of a pack of aces, one of them has gone home anyway and we only have three left.'' Unhappy with the Nagpur pitch, the former player said, ''The pitch is everything to cricket and we don't pay enough attention to it.

"We talk about the batsmen and the bowlers but those 22 yards are the most important bit.'' ''If the groundsman makes another flat, slow pitch that my mum would get runs on it will be a tedious draw.'' ''If it is a result pitch then all the bowlers come into the game. We should really pay the groundsmen more because they have the most important job in cricket,'' he added.

Impressed by Paul Collingwood's show in the first Test, Boycott said, ''Paul Collingwood played the best innings of his life in Nagpur. He played beautifully and never looked like making a mistake so I have terrific praise for him. He should now have the confidence to put pressure on other individuals. If he keeps playing this well he might force one of them out.'' He also felt that England's search for ''an old-fashioned opener who can stick around, wear the bowlers down and give us a solid platform'' ends in Alastair Cook.

''We've got plenty of people who can play shots but we could do with a couple of players who are going to build an innings.'' ''Cook looks good and I like the way he plays. I like his footwork, his patience and his concentration. As he plays more, his range of shots will improve as well,'' Boycott wrote.


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