India v England: Tourists' seam bowlers must improve against hosts to give Alastair Cook fighting chance

London, Jan. 13 (ANI): Cricket was introduced to the Malabar Coast, the old name for the region around Cochin (Kochi), where England play their second one-day international against India on Tuesday, by none other than the Duke of Wellington, according to a report.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Colonel Arthur Wellesley, as he then was, stopped off with his regiment on the way to Calcutta and introduced the game, which he had played a bit in his native Ireland.

Like Alastair Cook, Wellington lost his first major engagement as a leader in India (in Seringapatam rather than Ahmedabad), but was rather successful thereafter, the report said.

The report's author said that for Cook's captaincy to follow the same trajectory, his pace bowlers will have to up their game.

The writer said that England's batting and spin bowling need minor adjustments if they are to win this five-match series, their pace bowling a major improvement, the report said.

It is just as well for Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan that the Iron Duke, so famed for his love of discipline, was not at Rajkot.

According to the report, they bowled the new ball on both sides of the wicket, and their continued inaccuracy - frequently pitching outside the leg stump of left-handed batsmen, kept India in the game.

India's three pace bowlers form little more than a pop-gun attack: Cook, Ian Bell and Samit Patel flogged them to the extent that they bowled 25 overs for 191 runs and two wickets.

But England's were scarcely better: they bowled 28 overs for 199 runs, more than seven an over, and five wickets, none in the first half of India's innings when an early strike was needed, the report said.

Cook, like Wellington, can claim to be a lucky leader - he won all five tosses in England's last one-day series against India.

Scoreboard pressure is worth a substantial amount when the target exceeds 300, but when India bat first, England's seamers will have no such external support.

According to the report, all they will have is the comforting knowledge that India's left-handed opening batsman, Gautam Gambhir, has been giving his wicket away all winter: in 12 matches in various formats against England and Pakistan, he has reached double figures in every innings bar two, and never gone past 65.

His counterpart Cook, with his iron self-discipline, never gives his wicket away, the report said.

England's seamers have to start bowling the new ball on one side of the wicket and not drop short so frequently as they did in the opening match: India's flat-track middle-order batsmen are worth one or even two bouncers an over, but not short-of-a-length rubbish. England's seamers also need to remember that two will lose their places when James Anderson and Stuart Broad return.

And England's seamers cannot expect to be bailed out by their spinners. James Tredwell, as a specialist who can adjust his pace to circumstances, can be relied on, but not Joe Root, once his novelty wears off. Wellington would have observed that Root's contribution in Rajkot, as a batsman who bowls, was way beyond the call of duty.

England's batting has two areas for improvement, the first being the collective responsibility for making sure there are never two new batsmen at the crease except at the start of an innings. After Bell and Cook had gone in quick succession after their superlative partnership, instead of it being cashing-in time, England spent six overs scoring their next 23 runs. After Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan had gone in quick succession, England spent 13 balls scoring 11 runs, at 'the death', with only a handful of overs left.

The new pairs of batsmen did not panic, and played themselves in, but they should not have been placed in that position in the first place. The drawback was that Craig Kieswetter took so long to play himself in, with four runs off his first 10 balls, before launching his first six. In all, Kieswetter played 11 dot balls out of 20 - too high a proportion for a 'finisher' - against Patel's four out of 20.

Both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are more adept at improvising and working the ball into gaps than Kieswetter, who relies on boundary-hitting alone. Kieswetter's place hangs on his being the better wicketkeeper, especially standing back: and England will surely play four specialist seamers in the Champions Trophy this summer and in the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Cook is swarthier than Wellington. But the younger leader will not have any hair left if his seamers keep spraying their attack when under enemy fire, the report added. (ANI)

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