Tag Archives: spinners

Kevin Pietersen says Nagpur pitch was his toughest challenge yet after England"s slow start

Nagpur pitch was my toughest challenge yet, says Pietersen after hitting a watchful 73

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012

Kevin Pietersen described the Nagpur pitch as the ‘toughest’ he had encountered in his 92-Test career as England crawled to 199 for five on the crucial first day of the fourth Test against India.

England’s No 4 faced 188 balls for his 73 — one of the slowest innings of his career — and described the task ahead for Alastair Cook’s team as ‘an incredible challenge’ as they seek a first series win in this country for nearly 28 years.

Tough test: Pietersen hit an obdurate 72 before falling to Ravindra Jadeja

Tough test: Pietersen hit an obdurate 73 before falling to Ravindra Jadeja (FILE IMAGE)

‘It is the toughest wicket I have played Test cricket on in terms of trying to play strokes,’ he said. ‘The Indians think this is the kind of wicket they can produce to pull the series back.’

Pietersen suggested the day’s play,
which saw a run-rate of 2.05 an over, must have proved a turn-off for
TV audiences, with only 21 fours struck in 97 overs.

‘The
viewers have got no interest in what I’ve got to say because they
switched off four or five hours ago,’ he said. ‘It’s an incredible
challenge for the lads to see what we can get out of this over the next
four days.’

Pietersen
did, however, suggest England’s selection of two seam bowlers (Jimmy
Anderson and Tim Bresnan) to India’s one (Ishant Sharma) could yet help
the tourists in their hunt for an historic 3-1 series win. ‘We are in a
position of strength by having two seamers,’ he said. ‘I found Ishant
incredibly difficult to play.’

But Indian debutant Ravindra Jadeja, who removed both Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, defended India’s selection policy, saying: ‘It was a good decision to play four spinners because it will help us in the second innings, when there will be more footmarks.’

How have England turned it around so successfully after opening Test defeat in Ahmedabad?

How have England turned it around so successfully after opening Test defeat in Ahmedabad

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 8 December 2012

Outplayed in the opening Test, England will be dreaming of a first series win in India for 27 years if they can finish things off in Kolkata today. Here’s how they have made it happen…

Key omission: Monty Panesar (FILE PHOTO)

Key omission: Monty Panesar (FILE PHOTO)

Picking the right team

The decision to play just one frontline spinner — Graeme Swann — in the first Test in Ahmedabad proved costly. The recall of Monty Panesar might be the single biggest factor in England turning around the series. He took 11 wickets in Mumbai and has five so far in Kolkata.

Preying on ageing stars

A team full of ageing greats such as Sachin Tendulkar (right) unravelled in the second Test. That more focus was lavished on the pitch than England ahead of Mumbai laid bare India’s lack of faith in their own abilities, which the tourists ruthlessly exploited.

Bowling well

Poor team selection in the first Test was compounded by the performance of England’s seamers. Tim Bresnan was axed immediately and Stuart Broad after Mumbai. James Anderson, poor in Ahmedabad, has been superb, while Steven Finn totally eclipsed Broad.

Finally getting big runs

Alastair Cook’s 176 in Ahmedabad, the first of three centuries, kick-started a phenomenal run from the captain and showed his team-mates big runs could be scored. Kevin Pietersen followed in Mumbai as England found the knack of amassing large totals.

Working out the spinners

The figures of Ravi Ashwin in England’s second innings in the first Test told their own story as he leaked 111 runs in 43 overs for the solitary wicket of Swann. He was quickly worked out and has since had more impact with the bat. Pragyan Ojha has been India’s best spinner, but he is no Saeed Ajmal.

India v England: Alastair Cook dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on way to record century in third Test in Kolkata

Pujara left to ponder Cook clanger as ruthless England leave India dazed and confused

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UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 6 December 2012

It was a day of records for Alastair Cook, but the England captain would doubtless apply a different slant. For him, this was the day his side gave themselves a glorious chance of taking control of a series they were told they had no chance of winning.

The generous interpretation, at least from an Indian point of view, was that England’s 10-wicket win at Mumbai was a one-off. But if that argument felt flaky at the time, it has now been exposed as a total fallacy. Since giving up a potentially soul-destroying first-innings deficit of 330 in Ahmedabad, England have quite simply been the better side.

Their spinners have looked more potent, their seamers – here in Kolkata, at any rate – have found more reverse-swing, and their in-form batsmen have played the more decisive innings.

Record breaker: Alastair Cook (left) hit 136 not out on day two in Kolkata

Record breaker: Alastair Cook (left) hit 136 not out on day two in Kolkata

Cook, of course, belongs to the last group. But he is also in a class of his own.

It was he who showed England they could, in fact, score runs against spinners in Asia with his second-innings 176 in the first Test. And, despite the headlines grabbed by the brilliance of Kevin Pietersen at the Wankhede, it was Cook who quietly helped him ensure a crucial first-innings lead.

Today at Eden Gardens, it was Cook who – with the aid of the diligent and unsung Nick Compton – ground India into the dust.

Ouch: Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Cook at slip when he had scored just 17

Ouch: Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Cook at slip when he had scored just 17

Trailing by only 100 and with nine
wickets in hand, England can now regard tomorrow as a free day’s
batting: there is no time pressure and they will hope to bat only once.
If that sounds familiar, then cast your mind back to Edgbaston in 2011,
when Cook moved to 294 on a remorseless third day and England piled up
710 for 7.

That is a long, long way off. But India’s performance with the ball on the second day confirmed the impression they made with the bat on the first, when the cheap loss of their two centurions in this series – Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara – seemed to leave them dazed and confused.

Worse, they looked listless in the field, flopping over the ball rather than diving, beseeching team-mates to set off in pursuit to the fence, and conceding overthrows. Even the lone wicket they took might have been overturned had the DRS been in use.

Then there was Pujara’s drop at first slip when Cook had 17. This can happen to anyone, and it was by no means a gimme.

But it was hard not think of Durham wicketkeeper Chris Scott, who missed Brian Lara on 18 in a county match at Edgbaston in 1994. ‘I expect he’ll get a hundred now,’ moaned Scott. Lara finished unbeaten on 501.

Cook has already added 119 runs since Pujara put him down. More of the same tomorrow, and England can think about a 2-1 lead.

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India v England: If Sachin Tendulkar is on the way out, he"s not going in style thanks to James Anderson

If Sachin really is on the way out, he's not going in style… and that's thanks to brilliant bogey man Anderson

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 5 December 2012

India v England: Third Test

Anderson and Panesar turn the screw on India as only Sachin knock stands between England and paradise at Eden Gardens

This was little short of heroic from England. Condemned to bowl first for the third Test in a row, they overcame a loose start to take charge of a day that had at one stage seemed destined to belong to Sachin Tendulkar.

From 45 without loss off 10 overs, India spent the remaining 80 putting together 273 for 7 – testimony both to the meandering nature of a batting line-up that lacked a firm hand on the tiller once Cheteshwar Pujara had jumped ship, and to the discipline of England’s bowlers.

Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson in particular were immense. The extent to which Panesar outbowled Graeme Swann at Mumbai wasn’t reflected by respective match hauls of 11 wickets and eight, but there was little doubt which of his two spinners Alastair Cook felt more inclined to turn to before lunch when he craved control.

Bunny: James Anderson dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for 76 at Eden Gardens

Bunny: James Anderson dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for 76 at Eden Gardens

Helped by Tendulkar’s admirable refusal to commit the same errors which had twice cost him against Panesar in Mumbai, England’s left-arm spinner settled into a groove from which he was only budged when Yuvraj Singh hit him for a straight six in the second over after tea.

It was mesmerising stuff, as his two victims would presumably testify: Pujara was undone by one that, deliberately or otherwise, went on with the arm, while Gautam Gambhir cut to slip, where Jonathan Trott was grateful to take one in the guts.

Anderson showed off all his skills. He was unfortunate not to dismiss Gambhir in his opening spell, and underlined his versatility by returning for the 45th over for a stint with the oldish ball.

Virat Kohli was undone by one that left him slightly – India’s batting prodigy has been a desperate let-down in this series – but the wicket that sent Anderson halfway round Eden Gardens was that of Tendulkar, who prodded at the first ball after the post-tea drinks and was well held by a tumbling Matt Prior.

Charmed life: Tendulkar was not convincing despite hitting a half-century

Charmed life: Tendulkar was not convincing despite hitting a half-century

With that wicket Anderson joined Muttiah Muralitharan in a two-man club: only they have dismissed Tendulkar eight times in Tests.

But the context of the game mattered more. At a venue where India had passed 600 in each of their three previous first innings, they were now 230 for 6. (Had Steven Finn not fumbled a glaring chance to run out Ravichandran Ashwin from mid-on in the same over, India would have been 231 for 7.)

For Tendulkar, it was a painful moment. Throughout much of a gripping day, he appeared fated to prove his supporters correct and play the three-figure innings that would silence – temporarily, at least – those who feel he is living on borrowed time.

It was rarely pretty, save for a trio of paddle-sweeps off Swann and one laceration through the covers off Panesar. Mainly, he scored behind the wicket, steering the ball with varying degrees of conviction past the slips. If he really is on his way out, he is not going beautifully.

And yet there was plenty to admire, too. While less gnarled team-mates contrived to surrender their wickets – none more grievously than Yuvraj Singh, who poked a near long hop from Swann to short extra cover – Tendulkar delved deep into his reserves of bloody-mindedness.

No one would have begrudged him a first Test century since January 2011, but England were not in the mood for charity. And that pretty well summed up their day.

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Shane Warne fit for Ashes for Australia against England

WARNEING: I'm fit for Ashes! Shane, 43, is in the shape of his life and ready to save Australia

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 4 December 2012

Just when it seemed we could bid an
emotional farewell to the last of Australia's true greats with Ricky
Ponting's tearful retirement, up pops Shane Warne to flex his spinning
finger and tease us all over a possible Ashes comeback.

Warne chose the week of his latest
return to action in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 competition with
the Melbourne Stars to say that he had 'absolutely no doubt' he could
bowl at Test level again.

The ball, it seems, is in his close
friend Michael Clarke's court and fizzing like a classic Warne
leg-break. Can he really be serious

Ashes to Ashes! Warne is willing to come out of retirement to face England once again

Ashes to Ashes! Warne is willing to come out of retirement to face England once again

Final Warne-ing: Would Shane's other half put a block on him playing England again

Final Warne-ing: Would Shane's other half put a block on him playing England again

Well, perhaps the greatest bowler
of them all, and almost as great a showman, has talked of comebacks
before but there has always been more than a hint of publicity stunt
about it.

Now, in the aftermath of Australia's crushing defeat by South
Africa in Perth, he again chose to provide a glimmer of hope to a
slightly desperate nation.

If the Australian captain gives him a call,
Warne insists he will respond. 'If your best friend says, “Mate, I want
you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket by
coming out of retirement”, that's a different scenario,' said Warne.

'Especially with back-to-back Ashes series coming up next year. It could
be a 12-month thing where you take three spinners with you and say,
“Righto, work with these spinners and see how you go”. That's a
different kettle of fish.'

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Ball of the century: Mike Gatting was bowled all ends up in 1993

Ball of the century: Mike Gatting was bowled all ends up in 1993

So is this what you might call a
'come-and-get-me plea' 'I'm definitely not asking for Michael Clarke to
come out and say that,' conceded Warne.

'You asked me if I felt I could
still play international cricket, if I wanted to just turn up, do my
bowling and if the first Test was in three weeks, do you think I could
play

'I'd have no hesitation in saying yes. And I think I'd do pretty
well.'

It does, of course, feel like madness. Warne, after all, is 43
and has not played Test cricket for almost six years.

He may be able to
turn his arm over in a domestic Twenty20 league but could he really
return to what remains the biggest battle in world cricket

It is not as
if he needs to. Warne is busy and in successful postretirement and,
since he met Elizabeth Hurley, has found contentment in what has often
been a rocky personal life.

Surely he would not risk his considerable
reputation by putting his neck on the line again

And yet. Warne is
probably in the best physical shape of his life, has never been close to
being replaced in the Australian team and could bowl off a couple of
paces and resume his old position at slip, as long as his eyes haven't
gone, without too much fuss.

It couldn't happen, could it 'From purely a bowling perspective I don't think my form would be a concern,'
said Warne.

'It's just the time and actually making a commitment again.
'My kids are turning 16, 14 and 12 next year and we're juggling two
continents with my work commitments and Elizabeth's.

'There's travel, sponsors, businesses, so much stuff that I'd have to put
on hold to come back to international cricket. That's the reason I
haven't said for a while that I'm going to make a comeback.'

Oh Shane,
don't spoil it. His comments, made in Adelaide, have guaranteed
publicity so we might as well dream of what it might be like.

Shane's world: Warne retired in 2007 and soon took up commentary duties

Shane's world: Warne retired in 2007 and soon took up commentary duties

The
thought of Warne in another Ashes series is like a huge dollop of
stardust that will be missing in the contests in England and the return
in Australia as a result of Ponting's absence.

'For me it's not a
question of whether I could do it,' said Warne. 'I have no doubt that if
I wanted to commit I could do it.

'I watched the Perth Test and I felt
like jumping off the couch and grabbing the ball. I really felt for
Michael Clarke from a captaincy point of view.'

Nathan Lyon, the latest Australian spinner faced with the thankless task of stepping into
Warne's shoes, should look away now.

'When you've got international
bowlers bowling one or two full tosses and half-volleys an over I felt
for Pup (Clarke), I really did. I think I'm bowling as well as I have
for a long time. The best since I retired from international cricket. My
body's fresh and strong and fit. My mind's fresh from it all and off
the field I'm very happy, content and looking forward to playing.'

Oh,
go on Pup, give him a call. You know you want to. We all certainly want
you to. That really would light up the Ashes.

Andrew Flintoff has
improved his fitness levels so much in his boxing training that he may
play Twenty20 cricket again, says his father, Colin.

The only people cheering Warne's return would be England's batsmen

The only surprise about Shane Warne's latest dalliance with the idea of unretiring and playing Test cricket once more is that it's been a while since he's aired the possibility.

Barely a week went by during the 2010-11 Ashes when Warne wasn't asked whether he fancied helping out his struggling former team-mates. And, being a straight-talking kind of guy – and one with an eye for a PR stunt – he was damned if he was going to dismiss the prospect without giving it at least some room to breathe.

Now, he's done it again, saying he has 'absolutely no doubt' he could hack it at Test level and leaving a nation to dream of the good old days, when the thought of Australia failing to take six South African wickets in an entire day to win a match – as Michael Clarke's team contrived to do recently in Adelaide – would scarcely have occurred.

No one can question Warne's self-belief. It was part of the package that made him the most compelling spin bowler in the history of the game. His capacity to wring so many front-foot lbws out of impressionable umpires was a wonder to behold.

His aura might still earn him the odd wicket, and he could doubtless summon up the old magic to produce the occasional rip-snorter. Hell, it would be fun to watch.

But Test cricket is a gruelling business. And in a shade over six months next year spilling over into 2014, Australia will play ten straight matches against England, away and home. Warne will turn 44 between the two series. A return to Test cricket Really

If the headlines ever descended from the realms of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the only people cheering once the initial excitement had worn off would be England's batsmen.

Sportsmail cricketer writer and editor of Wisden – LAWRENCE BOOTH

VIDEO: Ball of the century which heralded Warne's arrival on Ashes scene…

Nasser Hussain: Shane Warne"s hopes of return is tantalising, but Australia must move on

Warne's Ashes return is an exciting prospect, but Aussies must move on

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 4 December 2012

If Shane Warne makes his comeback in the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10, you have to say it would be great for the Ashes.

Warne is the greatest cricketer I ever played against, and he has never been anything less than absolutely box-office.

Australia have tried 12 Test spinners since he quit at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes, and you know he'd get stuck in.

Ready to return: Shane Warne is in great shape, despite being 43

Ready to return: Shane Warne is in great shape, despite being 43

He's fitter than he used to be and he hasn't lost that competitive edge. He wouldn't struggle with the mental side, either.

If a mere mortal like me was thinking about a Test return in my 40s, I'd be worried about making a fool of myself.

But Warne's always had this huge self-belief. Worry would not be an option.

I'd love to see him play for Australia again. Who wouldn't But the real test would be how his right shoulder and spinning fingers stand up to the pain.

It's all very well Warne bowling four overs every few evenings in a Twenty20 tournament.

Happy couple: Warne is engaged to British actress Elizabeth Hurley (left)

Happy couple: Warne is engaged to British actress Elizabeth Hurley (left)

How he used to be: Warne is pictured smoking in 2004

How he used to be: Warne is pictured smoking in 2004

But life would get interesting if England kept Australia in the field all day and Warne had to rock up the next morning after 30 overs of hard graft.

And much though I want England to win, I'd also be a bit anxious about the possibility of an all-time legend not quite living up to the standards he set himself during his career.

No doubt Warne wouldn't share those anxieties – although I'm sure his comments came as a result of being asked a question rather than Warne himself dangling a carrot.

If he is serious, it's now up to him to make the next move, not his great buddy Michael Clarke or Cricket Australia.

But my gut feeling is that, with the retirement of Ricky Ponting, Australian cricket needs to move on from one of its greatest eras – however fascinating it would be to see Shane Warne back in action.

MS Dhoni says Kolkata pitch for third Test will suit seam

Pull the other one, MS… Dhoni says that seam will prosper during third Test in Kolkata

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UPDATED:

13:42 GMT, 4 December 2012

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from England's tour of India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept the mixed messages coming on the state of the pitch for the third Test against England.

Thousands of inconclusive words have been written and spoken over the past week about the conditions to be expected when play at last gets under way on Wednesday with the series level at 1-1.

It is hard to escape the likely conclusion that a slow turner – closer to Ahmedabad, where England lost the first Test, than Mumbai, where they won the second – will be presented at Eden Gardens.

If it was Dhoni's intention to confuse the opposition, however, he could hardly have chosen much more effective language than at his pre-match press conference.

His opposite number Alastair Cook, and England's remaining batsmen, may do best in fact to turn down the volume and just trust the evidence of their own eyes.

Under pressure: Dhoni's side were beaten by 10 wickets in Mumbai

Under pressure: Dhoni's side were beaten by 10 wickets in Mumbai

'The wicket looks good. I don't think there will be much help for the spinners initially,' said Dhoni.

'The fast bowlers get a bit of swing at this time of year, both at start of play and then close to stumps. So I think the role of fast bowlers will be very crucial in this game.'

Dhoni's thesis is that home advantage is a fundamental part of international cricket and one that should be fostered rather than mistrusted because it creates one of his sport's great challenges and fascinations.

'When you come to India you want to play on turning tracks, irrespective of the result,' said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

'We lost the last game, but still we want to play on wickets that suit the sub-continent – what the sub-continental challenge is all about.

'If you're not really doing that then that concept of playing around the world, and facing different challenges, goes down the drain.

'If you come to India, why do you want to play on wickets that are flat for the first three or four days

'And sometimes even five days is not enough to get a result.

'I feel the challenge is to play on tracks that turn, and assist the spinners.'

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar took 19 Indian wickets in Mumbai

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar took 19 Indian wickets in Mumbai

England could perhaps boast – they have been careful not to – that they beat India at their own game on a spinners' pitch in Mumbai last week.

But Dhoni added: 'It doesn't matter if we lose a few games, or if we win the series …

'The crucial thing is that a cricketer who has played five or six years can say 'I went to the sub-continent and the wickets were turning and bouncing and I scored runs or I failed'.

'We should still stick to turning tracks because that's what our strength is.

'That's what home advantage means.

'It doesn't mean that when Australia play in Australia and England play in England they win all the games – but they still stick to the speciality they have.

'It's the same for the sub-continental teams.

'Whatever the result, we'll stick to the kind of wicket that is our speciality.'

To that end, India can be expected – despite Dhoni's initial contention that pace will play a big part – to major on spin again.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh missed net practice because of flu today, and Yuvraj Singh took a blow in the nets.

But the indications from the home camp were that both should be fit for selection.

England spinners can deliver victory against India, says Alastair Cook

England's spin cycle can dumbfound India once again, says Cook ahead of third Test

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 4 December 2012

Alastair Cook has welcomed the prospect of another turning pitch as England seek to take an unexpected 2-1 lead over India in Kolkata.

The tourists won the second Test in Mumbai after Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann claimed 19 wickets between them on a Wankhede Stadium surface that had supposedly been tailor-made for India's three-spin attack.

India's captain MS Dhoni has repeated his demands ahead of tomorrow's game for a pitch that turns from the start – a stance that has turned Eden Gardens's straight-talking curator Prabir Mukherjee into a headline act over the past few days.

Captain's job: Cook is hoping England can take a series lead in Kolkata

Captain's job: Cook is hoping England can take a series lead in Kolkata

But England's experience in Mumbai was a reminder that turning pitches bring their own attack into the game more than the kind of slow, low surface they encountered during their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Ahmedabad.

'As I said in Mumbai, it gave us a great chance of winning as it was a result wicket,' said Cook. 'If you go in on real flat ones it can be very hard to get a result.

'Mumbai proved that a turning wicket gives both sides a chance. I'm not quite sure how this wicket will play. I don't think it will have the bounce Mumbai had – it hasn't got that red clay – but all the reports say that, especially after day three, it will turn. So that brings both our excellent spinners into the game.'

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from England's tour of India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

If the talk post-Ahmedabad was of a 4-0
revenge whitewash for India after they were humiliated in England in
2011, the mood changed completely after the Mumbai Test.

Cook admitted: 'It's given us a lot of confidence, certainly, and a belief that what we're doing is the right stuff. But that doesn’t mean it'll count for anything when it comes to this game. Hopefully, this week we can continue that improvement.’

The England captain refused to be drawn, as ever, on the make-up of the England team, but it would be a major surprise now if Steven Finn does not play his first Test of the series following his recovery from a thigh injury in place of vice-captain Stuart Broad.

'It’s great that Finn is back fully fit,’ said Cook. 'It's disappointing that he’s missed two games, and we have some tough selection meetings ahead of us.

'He's got a little bit more pace than the other guys. And he's bowled well in the subcontinent, especially in the one-dayers.'

On the team sheet Swann's in, but will Broad miss out

On the team sheet Swann's in, but will Broad miss out

Asked about Broad, whose figures in this series have been a below-par 36-2-157-0, Cook said: 'They've been tough wickets for seamers, and he’s been slightly unlucky in that he hasn’t been fully fit with some illnesses. He’s had a tough couple of games.

'But I saw a stat that he was the leading seamer wicket-taker in the world this year. It’s been a tough couple of games but I’m very glad he’s English.’

In fact, Broad’s haul of 40 Test wickets in 2012, at an average of 31, is now three behind South Africa’s Vernon Philander. But England are aware they will be making a big call by dropping their vice-captain and new-ball stalwart for the first time in four years.

James Tredwell called into England squad for India tour

Tredwell called into England squad as cover for spin kings Swann and Panesar

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 29 November 2012

As if further confirmation was needed of England's error in selecting just one spinner for the first Test in Ahmedabad earlier this month, James Tredwell has now been added to the squad for the ongoing tour of India.

The 30-year-old Kent off spinner will join up with Alastair Cook's side on Saturday ahead of the third Test starting in Kolkata next Wednesday.

Cover: Tredwell has been called into England's squad

Cover: Tredwell has been called into England's squad

Having been comprehensively beaten fielding just one spinner in Ahmedabad, England called Monty Panesar into their side to partner first-choice Graeme Swann for the second Test in Mumbai last week and were duly rewarded with a series-levelling 10-wicket win as the pair picked up 19 of the 20 Indian wickets to fall.

Tredwell is unlikely to play in the remaining two Tests unless either Swann or Panesar are injured, though he provides much needed cover in the slow bowling department as no other specialist spinners are in the touring party.

Spin kings: Swann (left) and Panesar (right) took 19 wickets in Mumbai

Spin kings: Swann (left) and Panesar (right) took 19 wickets in Mumbai

'Tredwell has performed really well for us,' said England team director Andy Flower. 'He can make a real impact as a spin bowler. He is arriving in Kolkata on December 1 as cover.

'We have some spinners with the Performance Programme. But Tredwell is a senior spinner and will stay with us for the Tests.'

Tredwell, who was recently named as Kent's new captain, has played just one Test previously – taking six wickets as England beat Bangladesh in Dhaka in March 2010.

Stuart Broad must improve, says David Saker

BROADside! Coach tells bowler to buck up and drop the defeatist attitude

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UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

England will consider leaving one of their most influential players, Stuart Broad, out of the crucial third Test after his anaemic performances in India.

The vice-captain was a bystander in the historic win here in Mumbai and it emerged on Tuesday the tourists will not hesitate to drop a bowler who has been one of their outstanding cricketers over the last four years.

The morning after an epic day dawned with Steven Finn, who was set to play an integral role in England’s attack in India before injury, beginning his attempt to prove his fitness for next week’s Kolkata Test.

Finn played for the England
Performance Programme squad who have just begun their own month-long
tour of India and took four for 60 in 16 hostile overs against a Mumbai
side to enhance his chances of returning at Eden Gardens.

If he has no reaction from the thigh
injury he suffered in the first warm-up game of the tour, he will become
a strong contender and, with England sure to retain two spinners, it is
Broad’s place that is under threat.

The choice of David Saker, the
fast-bowling coach, to face the media yesterday looked a curious one in
the aftermath of such a spin-dominated triumph until it became clear
that he seemed anxious to provide Broad with a public kick up the
backside.

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for EnglandVice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Chat: David Saker talks to James Anderson (right) during a practice session

Chat: David Saker talks to James Anderson (right) during a practice session

‘He needs to front up and find out what’s the best way to go about it over here,’ said Saker.

‘He has to find ways to survive in
India. The great fast bowlers have had success here. You can’t just
think that the fast bowlers won’t have much influence. A defeatist
attitude like that is pretty much not accepted.’

Broad was the leading Test
wicket-taker in world cricket in 2012 ahead of this tour and is highly
regarded by England but has had an anonymous two matches on
spin-friendly pitches, bowling 12 wicketless overs for 60 in the first
innings here and not even being used in the second.

His unhappy tour was compounded by a
Twitter spat with Sir Ian Botham after the first Test that earned him a
rebuke from Andy Flower.

‘I just think he’s lacking a bit of
confidence and finding it really difficult to get his head around maybe
changing the way he bowls in India,’ continued Saker. ‘If you bowl wide
of the stumps here you get hurt. We did discuss that before this trip,
how bowling straight is crucial, and we watched a lot of footage of the
teams who have come here and done well.’

Broad, as Twenty20 captain, is a
member of the management committee here and, in theory, would be in on
the discussions over his own place but England are clearly preparing him
for the possibility of bad news.

Saker confirmed that Broad was unwell
ahead of the second Test, as revealed by Sportsmail last Friday,
but that he had insisted he was fit enough to take his place.

‘He had a bit of illness and he was
asked on the first morning of the Test whether he was good to go and he
said yes,’ said the Australian.

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

‘If the coach says, “Are you all right
to go”, and you say yes then to me you’re 100 per cent fit. If you’re
not sure, it’s a decision for the captain and coach, but he said he was
right.’

FORM GUIDE

Stuart Broad is yet to take a wicket in two Tests here but his form in 2012 has been good. He has 40 wickets, making him the leading wicket-taker in Tests until he was overtaken by Graeme Swann in Ahmedabad.

Broad did well on Asian-type pitches when he took 13 wickets in the 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates but his best form came at home, with seven for 72 against West Indies at Lord’s and five wickets in the first innings against South Africa at Headingley.

Now Saker accepts that he must play
his part in restoring the brio that has made Broad such a confident and
successful competitor for England.

‘I’ve been blessed in that I haven’t
had to do a lot of hard yards as a bowling coach but now, with Tim
Bresnan and Stuart of late, we’ve had to have some good talks and maybe
some tinkering with actions.

‘The key is holding your length and
line. It’s an old adage but if you bowl at the stumps you’ve a chance.
Stuart probably just hasn’t played that well in these two Tests. Maybe
he’s looking for something that isn’t there. He’s asking questions that
probably don’t need to be asked.’

Saker insisted that he has every
confidence in Broad should he remain as one of only two seamers in
England’s Kolkata line-up but clearly he would like to see Finn’s extra
height and bounce added to the team.

‘Finn has been monitored the last few
days and he’s playing this game with the Lions squad so if he gets
through there’s a good chance he might play in Kolkata,’ said Saker.
‘He’s a special talent and has the pace we probably need for this place.
We’d like to get him. It will be an interesting selection call if he is
fit.’

There was a feeling of satisfaction
here among the England squad on Tuesday but there is no question that
another defeat would have led to some tough questions being asked within
the camp.

Saker added: ‘I was questioning myself as to whether we were
doing the right things, and if I’m doing that I think others in the camp
were wondering if we were going in the right direction too. But it
turned out to be as good a win as I’ve experienced with this group.’

England are considering adding
another spinner to their squad after the spectacular success of Monty
Panesar and Graeme Swann. They are concerned they have no specialist
back-up and could fly in James Tredwell or turn to Lancashire’s slow
left-armer Simon Kerrigan, who took four wickets for the Lions on
Tuesday.