England head coach Chris Silverwood believes record wicket-taker James Anderson and World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan deserve to end their international careers on their own terms.
Anderson missed the majority of the Ashes because of a calf injury, which will preclude the 37-year-old’s involvement for the trip to New Zealand next month in Silverwood’s first assignment since being promoted.
But in a bid to prove his fitness for the following tour of South Africa, Anderson is training at Manchester City’s Etihad Campus over the next two months alongside England’s strength and conditioning team.
With 575 Test wickets to his name, a record for a non-spinner, Anderson is not about to be summarily discarded and neither is his long-term opening bowling partner Stuart Broad, who dispelled any doubts about his England future by taking 23 Ashes scalps at an average of 26.65 this summer.
While succession planning is high on Silverwood’s agenda, the former Essex coach admitted the veteran pair – who he worked with at close quarters in his two-year stint overseeing England’s fast bowlers – are almost automatic selections provided they are both injury-free.
Silverwood said: “If they’re both fit, it’s difficult to look past them, isn’t it? It’s a great headache to have. When you look at the amount of wickets they’ve got between them it’s phenomenal.
“Jimmy’s great. He takes wickets, he’s got a lot of knowledge in there that he can share with the players coming in.
“I think it will be up to him to let us know, and I think he will, when he’s had enough, but who wouldn’t want a world-class bowler like him in the line-up? He is phenomenal. He gets wickets all round the world.
“So yes I want him around as long as I can, but equally we’ve got to be realistic and say ‘right we’ve got to do some future planning here’.
“We’ve got to sit down and make sure we’ve got depth so when guys do retire we’ve got people coming through who can take their places.”
Silverwood is similarly determined not to be caught out when Morgan eventually stands aside as limited-overs skipper, with the Irishman’s future uncertain beyond next year’s T20 World Cup.
Silverwood seems content to defer to Morgan about when to quit, after the Dubliner presided over their historic World Cup triumph this summer, but would welcome his input in choosing a successor.
“The way he leads that one-day side and T20 side, and the influence he’s got with the players, is phenomenal,” Silverwood said.
“He’s so respected and the ideas he has, moving them forward. My job is to give him as much support as I can, to help him get where he wants to get to with them.
“There’s got to be an eye on when it’s not Eoin any more, who is it going to be? Eoin’s got to be very much involved in that conversation as well.
“He’s earned the right to tell us when he’s had enough but certainly we’ve got to have one eye on transitioning that period.”
Silverwood gave his blessing for Morgan’s Test counterpart Joe Root to return to four in the batting order.
The Yorkshireman was at first drop during the Ashes, contributing four half-centuries but also three ducks, while an average of 38.12 after 28 Tests at three is in stark contrast to 48.39 in 36 matches batting one place lower.
Silverwood said: “Joe’s got to decide where he wants to bat and we’ve got to support him in that. If he goes back down to number four that’s absolutely fine by me.”
Silverwood also had some comforting words for Alex Hales, who was dropped from the World Cup squad following his suspension for failing a recreational drugs test and has subsequently lost his central contract.
The controversial batsman was unsurprisingly left out of the five-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand next month that will mark the start of Silverwood’s tenure after he was appointed as Trevor Bayliss successor this week.
Silverwood said: “I believe in never say never but equally he’s got to prove that firstly he’s getting the runs. Time is a great healer, so it’ll be a case of watch this space, really.”
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India might have clinched a record 11th straight series win on home soil but skipper Virat Kohli has vowed not to take the foot off the pedal when they take on South Africa in the third and final Test.
The hosts proved to be too good for South Africa on Day Four of the Pune Test with the visitors falling to a mammoth defeat by an innings and 137 runs.
Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Kohli is looking to make it a 3-0 clean sweep with one eye on the ICC World Test Championship.
“It’s been nice, but looking at the larger picture, the Test Championship, every game has even more value,” the India skipper stated after the big win.
“We’re not going to take the foot off the gas in the third Test, we’re looking for a result again, and hopefully make it 3-0.
“Because these points are important, we understand that, with the Test Championship it’s going to be very crucial, at all the stages, when we play away from home as well. And no one’s going to relax at any stage, that’s a guarantee.”
Kohli himself earned the man-of-the-match award after his stellar unbeaten knock of 254 which helped the hosts post a match-winning first innings total of 601-5. It was a record seventh double-ton for the India man but he has made it clear that landmarks are secondary to the team’s cause.
“I think I am at a stage in my career where I’m just happy to be playing the way I am and contributing for my team,” he said.
“And, for me, crossing 150 or crossing 200 is not the most important thing. And that’s why those muted celebrations, I think putting the team in a commanding position is the only goal and that’s the only thing I strive for.
“Not saying that I don’t enjoy scoring runs, I obviously enjoy scoring runs, but if they come in a winning cause, that’s the most important thing.”
It was Kohli’s 30th victory as India Test captain in his 50th match in-charge and his win-rate (60 per cent) is now only behind Australia’s Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting after the same number of games.
India captured a world record 11th home series win a row with the hosts dismantling South Africa by a whopping margin of an innings and 137 runs in the second Test at Pune.
Having enforced the follow-on ahead of the fourth day’s play, India’s bowlers bundled out the visitors for just 189 runs in their second innings to clinch an unassailable 2-0 lead for the hosts in the three-match series.
After what was another emphatic win for Virat Kohli and his men, we take a look at the key talking points from the Pune Test.
Kohli’s India pip Aussies with record win
With India’s 11th straight home Test series victory, Kohli’s men have pipped Australia’s record which stood at 10 wins on the bounce. The Aussies had attained the feat twice with the first streak coming between 1994 and 2001 while the second record run came between 2004 and 2008 under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting.
India’s record run, ironically, started against Australia itself with the hosts running away with a 4-0 win in the Border Gavaskar series held at home in February, 2013.
It was under the captaincy of MS Dhoni that India’s still ongoing run started with Kohli taking charge of the team in the third series against South Africa in 2015-16. Australia, South Africa and West Indies have been beaten twice apiece in India’s record run while the other series victories have come against England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Kohli himself has now won 30 of the 50 Tests he has captained in total and that staggering win-rate is only behind Australia’s iconic skippers Steve Waugh and Ponting.
India’s pace supremacy the decisive factor
While India’s spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja predictably asserted their dominance over their South Africa counterparts with 10 wickets between them in the Test, it was the display of the home team pacers that deserves a special mention.
Together, the India pace trio picked up the 10 other Proteas wickets to fall with Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami accounting for nine of them. In comparison, only Kagiso Rabada was able to get among the wickets for South Africa with the young pace spearhead picking up three wickets in India’s only innings.
India’s pacers out-bowling their Proteas counterparts has not been a very common sight historically but the trend was also observed in the first Test at Vizag where Shami alone picked up a five-wicket haul in the second innings. South Africa’s pacers, on the other hand, were able to muster just the three wickets between them across the whole Test.
Visiting teams have traditionally prepared for an onslaught of spin when touring India but they will now also need to be wary of their pace prowess which keeps getting better with each passing series.
Markram’s pair highlights South Africa’s woes
Aiden Markram in Asia:— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) October 13, 2019
94 - runs.
8 - Innings.
11.75 - Average.
39 - Highest Score.
Keshav Maharaj in the 2nd test:
94 - Runs.
2 - Innings.
47 - Average.
72 - Highest Score.
But South Africa decided to replace Maharaj instead Markram! #BoycottSaffers
A 109-run stand between Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander in the South African first innings had put their top-order to shame but the lessons weren’t learned for the visitors in their second go as well.
The Proteas top-order wilted without any fight for the third time in a row in the series with the visitors losing their first five wickets for just 79 runs. Opener Aiden Markram’s horror tour continued with the right-hander falling for a duck for the second time in a match to bag a silver pair.
Only Dean Elgar (48), and to some extent Temba Bavuma (38), showed any gumption for a fight while the rest of the top-order were all dismissed for single-digit scores. Once again, it was left to Maharaj and Philander to show the way with the two lower-order batsmen putting on a gritty 56-run stand for the eighth wicket between them.
Bar the first innings of the Vizag Test where both Elgar and Quinton de Kock registered tons, South Africa’s main batsmen have fallen flat on their faces in the ongoing tour. They can lament the failure of their bowling attack all they want, but it is the batsmen who need to take a long and hard look at themselves.
The mammoth margin of defeat is now the worst they have suffered at the hands of India in a Test match with the previous record loss standing at an innings and 57 runs in the 2009 Eden Gardens clash.