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Why Alastair Cook’s ‘sour’ remark can spice up India vs England Chennai Test

England skipper Alastair Cook finding fault with India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the verbal skirmish with James Anderson in the Mumbai Test is set to spice up the India vs England Chennai match starting on Friday.

cricket Updated: Dec 14, 2016 11:06 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times
India vs England

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin confronted England pacer James Anderson after the Mumbai Test win.(BCCI/ SPORTZPICS)

England skipper Alastair Cook finding fault with India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the verbal skirmish with James Anderson in the Mumbai Test is set to spice up the India vs England Chennai game starting on Friday.

Although India have wrapped up the series 3-0 with an innings victory in the fourth Test in Mumbai on Monday, England’s record Test wickettaker, James Anderson’s comments questioning skipper Virat Kohli’s batting technique left the hosts incensed.

James Anderson’s comments came after play on Day 4 of the India vs England Test when Kohli’s career-best 235 had all but settled the battle in India’s quest for their first series win over England for eight years.

On Tuesday, Anderson found few supporters with former England skipper Michael Vaughan calling him naïve while taking a dig at the Indian media for sensationalising the remarks.

Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq questioned Anderson’s record in India and the assumption in the sub-continent that greatness only lay in shining abroad.

Anderson dismissed Kohli four times on the 2014 England tour, when he scored 134 runs averaging 13.40 in the five-Test series as his weakness against swinging deliveries outside off-stump was exposed.

However, Kohli bounced by scoring four centuries on the 2014-15 Australia and hasn’t looked back since. He has now rattled off three double tons in successive series.

“I’m not sure he’s changed,” Anderson had said. “I just think any technical deficiencies he’s got aren’t in play out here. The wickets just take that out of the equation.

It became a major controversy after Ashwin confronted the England No 11 as he walked in to bat. The game was briefly halted before Kohli and the umpires intervened.

Cook sprang to his senior bowler’s defence. “It was a bit of a sour end really, it was a disappointing end in terms of how well the spirit between both sides has been played… He was just stating a fact, which if you asked Virat is probably quite true. But yes, it was obviously just sticking up for their captain, which I thought was slightly unnecessary.”

Although Virat Kohli has transformed from a combustible player to a calm leader, has still been in the middle of controversies, clashing with England all-rounder Ben Stokes. The latter was reprimanded by the match referee in Mohali.

However, Anderson faced criticism from two other former international skippers for what was seen as ‘sour grapes’. Inzamam was joined by ex-South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, Vaughan as well as Kohli’s personal coach, Rajkumar Sharma.

Anderson was naive

Anderson had been frustrated on his return following a lengthy break after shoulder surgery. He took four wickets in the second Test in Visakhapatnam but none in Mohali or Mumbai Tests.

Vaughan called Anderson naïve on BBC, but also took a dig at the Indian media.

“Jimmy came out last night and showed no experience with the Indian press,” he said. “You know what you’re getting with the Indian press, they’ll make one small comment into a huge headline.

“For him to say Virat’s technique’s not changed and it’s just the conditions here that suit his style of play, it’s so nave.”