“Why are we rotating in the biggest Test series you are playing in?” – Ian Bell slams England’s tactics

England captain Joe Root. Pic: ECB

Former England batsman Ian Bell has hit out at his team’s rotation policy after the visitors went 1-2 down in the four-match Test series against India; England endured a thumping 10-wicket loss inside two days in the day-night third Test in Ahmedabad.

While England played both James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the pink-ball Test, Moeen Ali flew back to England after the second Test. Jos Buttler, too only played the first Test of the series.

Even as England players have been vehemently backing the team management’s rotation policy, Ian Bell feels the thinktank got it completely wrong for a series that is probably bigger than the Ashes. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo in this regard, Bell opined:

“I think England have been guilty of thinking too far ahead of having a squad for the Ashes when actually this is bigger than the Ashes; this is probably as big as the Ashes. Why are we rotating in the biggest Test series you are playing in? For me that’s where England have gone a bit wrong.”

Ian Bell added that England missed a great opportunity to make an impact in India by making poor choices for the tour. He further explained:

“These tours, certainly for Englishmen coming to India or going to Australia are the pinnacle. They make your careers, you look back and if you win in those conditions, they are remembered for a long long time.”

India are scheduled to visit England later in the year for a gruelling five-match series. According to Bell, India will not do what England did, that is rest their key players in the big series. Bell commented in this regard:

“For me, India are going to come to England in the summer. If they are 2-0 or 1-0 up will they rotate? I know for a fact that when India come in the summer they won’t be rotating their best bowlers or their best players or leave somebody out. They want to win.”

The former batsman, who featured in 118 Tests and 161 ODIs for England, also felt that sticking to a winning combination is extremely important, especially when you facing a great opposition. Bell elaborated:

“In international cricket, you have to be so careful between the balance of looking after your players and doing bubbles but don’t look too far ahead. International cricket changes all the time, form comes in and out as you play. When you are playing well, don’t lose it or change it; winning combinations are so important to keep against the best teams in the world.”

Following the loss in Ahmedabad, England are now out of the reckoning for a place in the final of the inaugural World Test Test Championship (WTC).

However, an England win in the fourth Test starting on March 4 in Ahmedabad would knock the hosts out of contention; in that case, Australia would qualify for the summit clash at the Lord’s later this year.

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