“Don’t blame the pitching…” – Aakash Chopra shares views on England’s innings, questions Ben Stokes’ batting position

Aakash Chopra, Ben Stokes, England

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra lashed out at the England team for his poor batting performance in the first Test against India. He said it was not a 246-run pitch and they should not blame the surface for his poor outing.

England didn’t get the kind of outing they wanted in the first innings against India in Hyderabad. They were bowled out for just 246 runs and looked clueless against the spinners. They got off to a decent start as they added 55 runs for the opening opener.

With the kind of start they had, it looked like they would end up with a big total. However, that was not the case. Players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel spun a web around the batsmen and did not allow them to settle down at all.

Some batsmen, including Ben Duckett, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, had started but could not get going. They all perished turning and it’s fair to say there were some bad shots too. The pitch had no demons as it rotated normally.

English fans and the media rated the course as challenging and said the surface played a huge role in their poor start. Even opener Ben Duckett said the ball turned sharply and the conditions were difficult to hit.

Aakash Chopra said he assessed the pitch along with Anil Kumble and they did not find anything resembling a bowl of dust and it was not crumbling or dry. In a video posted on his YouTube channel, he explained:

246 runs were scored. I went along with Anil Kumble and had a look at the Tea field. I said: ‘the countryside is fine.’ It was not a dust bowl. It is a launch that favors spin. It’s probably not a day one release but a day two release. However, the tar was not crumbly or too dry.

Aakash Chopra also lashed out at the England fans and media, saying that blaming the pitching is not correct as the visitors’ batting was not strong enough. He explained:

“It’s a decent pitch. Of course, the quality of Indian spin bowling is very good. But in my opinion, don’t blame the pitch at all. Your batting didn’t have any power. It was not a 246-run pitch. “It was a pitch of at least 350 runs, which you didn’t score.”

In my opinion, that’s not right – Aakash Chopra on Ben Stokes’ batting position

Ben Stokes, who batted at number 6, scored a magnificent half-century and finished with 70 run innings. His knock ensured that England got around 250 runs on the board.

Aakash Chopra was not impressed with Ben Stokes’ batting position and said that he is playing like a proper batsman and should bat higher up the order. Elaborating on the same, he added:

“If you watch Test cricket around the world, you won’t see a pure batsman at No. 6. You will see a wicketkeeper or an all-rounder at No. 6. You can go on saying anything, Ben Stokes is not bowling at the moment. He has almost 200 wickets in Test cricket but currently plays as a batsman.

“Batting at number 6 means you have Ben Foakes on you very quickly and after that, just the tail. In my opinion, that is not right. You have no responsibility to start at number 6. The captain needs to improve the order slightly to fight this battle.”

On the first day, India were 119/1 and are 127 runs behind England’s score. Yashasvi Jaiswal is batting with unbeaten 76 runs while Shubman Gill was unbeaten with 14.