Former England opener Sir Geoffrey Boycott has urged Joe Root and co to toughen up ahead of the fifth and final Test against India in Manchester on Friday.
Indian captain Virat Kohli has easily been the better captain in the ongoing five-match Test series. Virat Kohli’s men prevailed over England in the fourth Test at the Oval by 157 runs to take an unassailable 2-1 lead with one game to go.
Boycott noted how Kohli has led by example, and wants Joe Root and England to tread the same path too. He wrote for The Telegraph:
“Virat Kohli has been a warrior captain going into battle and saying to his players: ‘Follow me. Believe in me. I’m up for the challenge.’ Joe Root and the coach Chris Silverwood have to do the same. No more platitudes, no more being nice.”
Virat Kohli earned plaudits for his tactical nous and brave decisions on day five. Although England started their run chase of 368 well on day four, the hosts ran out of steam on the final day.
Resuming on 77 without loss, England reached 141-2 at Lunch on day five, but collapsed to 210 in the face of the relentless Indian bowling attack.
While Root scored heavily in the first three Tests, he could not score a fifty at the Oval. He managed 21 and 36 in two innings in the fourth Test, failing to lead England by example.
When I had a few bouncers whistling past my nose, they woke me up: Sir Geoffrey Boycott
Geoffrey Boycott lauded India’s spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who bowled a fabulous spell on the fifth day to end England’s challenge. The 81-year old said that to deal with good deliveries from Bumrah and the other Indian pacers, England batsmen will have to be proactive and courageous.
“Jasprit Bumrah is a good bowler with an unusual action, but every batsman in the world should expect bouncers and the yorker,” said Boycott. “You should want them early on. When I had a few bouncers whistling past my nose, they woke me up. Same with the yorker. If I stopped his best ball, I made a statement: “I’m here. I’m up for the challenge. I’m no pushover.”
Joe Root and co. have an opportunity to level the series in the fifth Test in Manchester. However, the upbeat visitors will claim their first series win in England since 2007 if they manage to avoid defeat.