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Nasser Hussain blasts Joe Root’s ‘mystifying’ tactics and raises ongoing concern

Hussain criticised the England captain for his reluctance to use spinners, and said it is a problem ‘so endemic in the English game’

Former England Test captain Ted Dexter dies aged 86

England cricket captain Joe Root has been criticised for his “perplexing” tactics as India romped to 466 in their second innings to leave their hosts with a mountain to climb on the final day of the fourth Test.

The tourists recovered from a disappointing 191 in their first innings to smash England in the second, as their lower order added 150 runs to their total on Sunday.

Shardul Thakur managed 60 of those runs from 72 balls, until Root put himself in and forced an edge from which Craig Overton was only too happy to catch.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has called the current skipper out, though, for his apparent distrust of making too much use of spinner Moeen Ali.

Nasser Hussain said Joe Root needs to make more use of spinners like Moeen Ali when the conditions favour it, as they did on the fourth afternoon of the fourth Test against India.


Action Images via Reuters)

The 53-year-old said conditions on the fourth afternoon of the test were ideal for a bowler like Ali, but Root continued to be over-reliant on seamers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson.

“I was mystified by Joe Root’s tactics between lunch and tea,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“On a flat pitch, and on the fourth afternoon — probably the hottest of the series — every other team in the world would have been bowling their frontline spinner.

“Instead, Root kept flogging seamers Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who have been going hard at India all series.

“Whether he had lost some faith in Moeen because he was going at four an over, I don’t know.

“It’s also true he has bowled very little with the red ball this season. But it just feels as if a lack of trust in spin bowling is so endemic in the English game.”

Nasser Hussain said a lack of trust in spinners is ‘endemic in the English game’.



Hussain added: “If Australia had been playing, there is no doubt Nathan Lyon would have been bowling his off-breaks in the same situation.

“If it had been West Indies, we’d have been watching Roston Chase.

“And when India came out to bowl in the final session, Ravindra Jadeja’s slow left-armers were introduced into the attack as early as the eighth over. Sure enough, his first ball spun from the rough outside Burns’ off stump.

“If you’re the spinner in this side, you should be doing a job for your captain on the fourth afternoon. It’s as simple as that.

“When Root finally gave Moeen and himself a trundle, they struck immediately, in successive overs.

“On an extremely flat Oval pitch, they needed their captain and their No 1 spinner to be on top of their games — and neither quite managed it.”

England openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed steadily crawled to 77-0 by close of play, leaving England needing 291 runs from 90 overs to take an overall lead in the series for the first time.

If they manage it, it will be England’s highest ever successful chase in Test cricket.

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