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Brendon McCullum Raises Idea of England’s All-Spin Bowling Unit

Brendon McCullum said that Shoaib Bashir could make his England debut in the second Test at Visakhapatnam on Friday. He also suggested that England might play an all-spin attack at some point during their five-match series in India.

Bashir met up with the team in Hyderabad on Sunday. He had to fly back to London from England’s training camp in Abu Dhabi because his visa was taking too long to process, so he couldn’t go straight to India. His only first-class record is 10 wickets in six games, but England’s management thinks that his skills could work well in India.

After his seriously injured knee limited him to a brief spell in Hyderabad, the touring party arrived in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday with worries over Jack Leach’s readiness for the second Test. England may play all four spinners if Leach is fit and the ACA-VDCA pitch is dry.

Spin-Only Approach

In their dramatic 28-run win in Hyderabad, England’s lone seamer, Mark Wood, sent down 25 wicketless overs in both innings. McCullum suggested England may play a Test without a seam option, even if James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, and Ollie Robinson will play.

“Bash, he was obviously with us during our camp in Abu Dhabi and he impressed with his skill set,” McCullum told SENZ. “He fit in well with the group and has a lot of energy, despite his youth and minimal first-class experience.

Spin-Only Approach

“Like Tom Hartley, we thought he had skills that could help us in these conditions. Visa issues—that’s life, right? Everyone tried to remedy the issue when that happened. Sometimes you have to cut through red tape.

He arrived to a great cheer from the boys and saw the fellas bowl us to a Test win. His computations begin for the next Test. If the wickets continue to spin as much as in the first Test, we won’t be hesitant to play all spinners or a mix.”

Stokes’ Leadership

McCullum commended Ben Stokes’ response to Hartley’s recovery from a Yashasvi Jaiswal thrashing on the first evening to take 7 for 62 on the fourth day. “He’s only played a handful of first-class games and was probably a bit of a punt, selection-wise,” McCullum told. But we sensed something in him that would work there, and he’s tough.

The skipper’s handling of him was impressive, leading to a Test win. I saw leadership there. It sent a message to Tom and the team that when we talk about freedom, taking the game on, and making a difference, you won’t be pushed aside or taken off the crease at the first indication of danger.

Stokes’ Leadership

McCullum Defends England’s Brave Selection of Hartley

McCullum called England “brave” for choosing Hartley, who had only taken 40 first-class wickets before his Hyderabad Test debut. “But let’s not forget – and I think this is quite a pertinent point – but Nathan Lyon, he’d only played a handful of first-class games and averaged 40-odd when he first got picked for Australia,” remarked. He had a great career.

Selection of Hartley

When you see guys you think are good enough and will fit the conditions, it’s horses for courses. You must trust your judgment. Nobody expects 7 for 60 on debut, nine for the match, 60 runs, a run-out, and a catch. Sometimes you have to be brave with choices. If you appreciate a character’s skillset and think it fits conditions, it’s an educated guess.”

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4 Comments

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