Former England batsman Ian Bell reckoned that England are guilty of thinking too ahead for the Ashes even when the ongoing series is as bigger or at par with the Ashes. He also added that he feels it's a bit wrong to rest and rotate players during such a big series against India.
England have adopted the rest and rotation policy for this sub-continent cycle that commenced with a two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, last month. However, for many, it was surprising that even against a more formidable side like India and with the World Test Championship finale contention dependent on the outcome of the series, England continued to persist with their policy.
It saw Jos Buttler leave the series after the first game while Moeen Ali also left the Test series post the second game. While the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood were also only available selection after the first two Tests.
After England lost the third Test, they were knocked out of the WTC finale contention as they needed to win the series in India to reach the final two. Former English middle-order Test batsman Ian Bell feels England have been thinking too far ahead for the Ashes series even when the India series is massive. He didn't agree with the move to rotate players for this series.
"I think England have been guilty of thinking too far ahead of having a squad for the Ashes when actually this is bigger than the Ashes, this is probably as big as the Ashes," Bell told 'ESPNcricinfo', reported TOI.
"Why are we rotating in the biggest Test series you are playing in? For me, that's where England have gone a bit wrong," he added.
Bell, who played 118 Tests, opined that the India/Australia tours are the pinnacle for English cricketers and also stated that India would never rotate their best players when they tour England this summer.
"These tours, certainly for Englishmen coming to India or going to Australia, are the pinnacle. They make your careers. You look back and if you win in those conditions, they are remembered for a long long time," Bell said.
"For me, India are going to come to England in the summer. If they are 2-0 or 1-0 up, will they rotate? I know for a fact that when India come in the summer, they won't be rotating their best bowlers or their best players or leave somebody out. They want to win."
The right-handed batsman also said that the English team needs to strike a proper balance between things and expressed his sympathy for the difficult pitches team has been getting in the Test series thus far.
"In international cricket you have to be so careful between the balance of looking after your players and doing bubbles but don't look too far ahead.
"International cricket changes all the time, form comes in and out as you play. When you're playing well, don't lose it or change it. Winning combinations are so important to keep against the best teams in the world."
"I've got a lot of sympathy for England on these pitches, but I can't help but feel we're not making it easy for ourselves by chopping and changing every Test," Bell said.