England Facing Tough Questions

Pietersen: Cook Should Step Down

England's comprehensive defeat against India means the make-up of the team and the selection policy will be in the spotlight this week

Extra pressure is on the selectors because there are only a few days before the second test begins in Mumbai, on Friday

Unfortunately there are no easy answers.

Former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham has called for four changes to the team.

Some of them may be justified, but drafting in members of the squad who weren't deemed good enough to play in Ahmedabad, brings to mind the words shuffling, deckchairs and Titanic.

Botham suggests bringing in Steve Finn (if fit) for Stuart Broad, Monty Panesar for Tim Bresnan, Jonny Bairstow for Ian Bell, (who is already on his way home to attend the birth of his child) and Eoin Morgan for Samit Patel.

Broad didn't take a wicket in Ahmedabad, but if he is left out for Finn, and Panesar replaces Patel as a second spinner, that puts Graeme Swann at eight in the batting order, having played at ten in the first test. It looks an ominously long tail.

With the batting, if you add Morgan and Bairstow to a team that includes Nick Compton, three of the top six would have just 21 caps between them. Not ideal  for the pressure likely to be applied by India's spinners in Mumbai and beyond.

Broad stated the obvious on Twitter in saying that playing in India is never easy, and he hit back at Botham by pointing out that it has been 28 years since England's last series win there.

"Before you listen to too many ex-playing 'experts' being negative, ask them if they ever won a Test series in India....#28years" said Broad.

A telling statistic, but it doesn't hide the fact that only a handful of players emerged from the first test with any credit in what was, in truth, a one-sided contest.

Alastair Cook's tenure as test captain may have begun with a personal triumph (his 21st test century), which proves that hard earned runs can be scored in India, but he must be aware that too many areas of England's game seem to be in decline.

Cook has admitted that England made errors in selection for the first test, and it's likely that changes will be made, but unfortunately even the right calls may not equip his side to turn this series into a contest.

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