In hindsight, Ganguly’s call to exclude James Anderson from India tour proves right

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In hindsight, Ganguly’s call to exclude James Anderson from India tour proves right

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SportsCafe Desk


When Sourav Ganguly stated, before the England tour, that James Anderson would be a bad choice for the series few agreed with him. The world's best pacer of late, however, has proved Dada right by taking just four wickets so far and making his presence felt only with his off-field statements.

Anderson was out of the England team for more than three months due to his injury problems but was declared fit to play in the series against India, just a day ahead of the first Test. But former India captain Sourav Ganguly, in his assessment before the series, had said that he wouldn’t pick Anderson for the Test series, even if he was 100 % fit.

Ganguly had said, "I wouldn't play him [Anderson] in India to be honest. It's not the same Anderson as 2012. I saw him in the Test series in England recently. He has lost a bit of pace. And I think Stuart Broad and Steven Finn and Ben Stokes [will be more effective] because you will need a bit of pace in these conditions to get that ball to reverse. So I don't know whether he will make the side when he comes back. Not in Vizag [Visakhapatnam] where the ball will turn square.

"I don't see him playing in the second Test. And if I were the England captain, I would go in with two fast bowlers: [Stuart] Broad and Ben Stokes [along with Chris Woakes]. A bit of zip, a bit of pace, reverse. And play three spinners. Moeen Ali, Gareth Batty and another spinner. The advantage is, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes can get runs with the bat. It makes the batting a lot longer, and you still have three spinners for these conditions. That's the way I will go, and I don't think Jimmy Anderson bowling at 80 miles an hour will find a place in my side,"in an interview to espncricinfo before the series.

Anderson, though, made a comeback to the England team for the second Test in Vizag but has failed to make a mark in the series so far. He took four wickets in the match at Vizag, but couldn’t trouble the Indian batsmen that much. However, the English spearhead has gone wicket-less in the two subsequent matches- in Mohali and Mumbai. He failed to extract enough swing and has been unable to curtail the Indian batsmen who have notched up centuries one after the other including debutant Jayant Yadav.  

Anderson, meanwhile, has involved himself in verbal battles with the Indian players on the field. He also appears to have stirred a hornet's nest with his claim that Virat Kohli has been able to perform only because the slow Indian pitches which do not really expose his weaknesses.

But his own performances leave us with one question- Haven’t the alien conditions in India exposed his weaknesses? 

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