India’s captain Rohit Sharma reacts as he walks back to pavilion after his dismissal by England’s Jack Leach during the first day of their first test cricket match in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
Boycott opined that England’s ongoing five-match Test series in India is an opportune moment for the Ben Stokes-led side to inflict a home series defeat on the mighty Indian side, who haven’t lost a series at home in the last 12 years.
Legendary English opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott opined that England’s ongoing five-match Test series in India is an opportune moment for the Ben Stokes-led side to inflict a home series defeat on the mighty Indian side.
Team India has not lost a Test series at home in the past 12 years, and the former England international felt that England could cause a huge upset following their opening win in the Hyderabad Test.
“This India team are ripe for the taking and England have a golden chance to be the first side to topple them on their own patch for 12 years,” Boycott wrote in ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
Boycott stated that the Indian unit sorely missed the presence of talisman Virat Kohli and expressed that the team’s sipper Rohit Sharma was past his prime.
“India badly miss Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja has a hamstring injury and will not play the second Test. Their captain Rohit Sharma is nearly 37 and past his best. He makes pretty cameos but has scored only two Test hundreds at home in four years,” his column added.
Team India were undone by a brilliant Ollie Pope innings in which he made 196 runs, but was dropped on two occasions earlier.
“They are also weak in the field. They dropped Ollie Pope on 110 and that cost them 86 runs. It lost them the match,” Boycott explained.
India bundled out England for 246 runs in the first innings before making 436 runs in reply to establish a 190-run lead.
However, Pope’s daddy-ton and debutant Tom Hartley’s seven-wicket haul in the second innings turned the tide for England as he clinched an emphatic win in the first Test of the series to take a 1-0 lead.
“England bamboozled India with their sweeps and reverse sweeps and to lose after taking a 190-run lead will be mind-blowing for India. It has never happened to them before on their own pitches where they thought they were invincible,” Boycott’s entry in the Daily further read.
In addition to the absence of Kohli, India will also miss the services of ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batsman KL Rahul in the second innings.
The maverick left-arm all-rounder suffered a hamstring injury on the penultimate day of the opener, while Rahul experienced pain in his right quadriceps.
“Jadeja is a huge blow. He is a great all-rounder, top bowler, brilliant fielder and was their best batsman in the first Test. Kohli is their talisman. He is a magnificent batsman who averages 60 on Indian pitches but he also gives them great energy in the field. He is a big loss and England must make the most of it before he comes back for the third Test,” Boycott urged.
“Once in a while a team are in the right place at the right time to clinch a big series win and England could be in that position right now in India. India are due a (series) defeat at home, the signs are good as they have lost Kohli, Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant and are playing opponents full of confidence after a remarkable win. England must take this rare opportunity,” he concluded.