IND vs ENG, 3rd Test: Does England have a plan in place to deal with Bumrah? McCullum remains non-committal
In the aftermath of Jasprit Bumrah's impactful performance, England, led by coach Brendon McCullum, expresses optimism and emphasizes practical solutions to counter the threat as they prepare for the upcoming Tests against India.
In the aftermath of Jasprit Bumrah's remarkable performance in the second Test, England finds themselves tasked with strategizing against the formidable threat posed by the star Indian pacer. Despite Bumrah's sensational spell that dismantled the England batting lineup, known for its aggressive Bazball approach, head coach Brendon McCullum remains optimistic about his players' ability to devise a plan to counter Bumrah's prowess.
Bumrah's impressive figures of 6/45 played a pivotal role in dismissing the tourists for 253 in their first innings, ultimately leading to India's series-levelling victory in Visakhapatnam. McCullum, renowned for his aggressive batting style during his playing days, was cautious in his response when questioned about England's strategy to tackle Bumrah in the remaining three Tests. He simply stated that his team prefers practical solutions over theoretical approaches.
As England prepares to face Bumrah's formidable bowling once again, they are likely to focus on adapting their tactics and techniques to handle the challenges posed by the talented Indian pacer.
"We don't really do theories. It is about making sure the guys are totally clear and present, confident and have conviction in their method. They are a lot better than I ever was and they will work it out how best to go about it," McCullum said.
"There are contrasting ways of going about it...we will see where we get to. For now, we have to tip our cap to Jasprit and say that spell (in the first innings of the second Test) was as good as anything we have seen so far on this trip," he was quoted as saying by 'ESPNcricinfo'.
However, the former New Zealand captain praised the skill sets possessed by the Indian strike bowler.
"It's all condition-dependent. When the ball is swinging like that he becomes even more of a threat. He is a fantastic bowler in all forms of the game. He is unique with his release points and with how much swing he can generate in the air. No doubt he is very good, but we have come up against very good bowlers all through the last 18 months or so and found ways to counter them and that is what we have got to do in this one," he said.
He also expressed that the 1-1 scoreline after two Tests was a "fair reflection that we're in the contest".
"We've played some really good cricket over the last two Test matches. Yes, we have come out on the wrong side of it here, but we got it across the line in the first one. The conviction about how we go about it is as strong as it ever has been. We have done some really good things over the last couple of weeks," he added.
The England side returned to Abu Dhabi, their pre-series base, following the conclusion of the second Test in Visakhapatnam. They are scheduled to fly back to India on February 12 and arrive in Rajkot on the same day, ahead of the third Test commencing on February 15.
McCullum noted that the upcoming camp will differ from the one prior to the tour.
"There will not be a whole lot of training. The boys have worked incredibly hard in Abu Dhabi keeping in mind they all came here with a lot of cricket under their belts as well. We have had plenty of training days, two varying Test matches, and this is an opportunity to step away from the heat of the battle. I was talking to Rahul Dravid and he mentioned all his boys are shooting home as well. Home for us is a little way away, so we chose Abu Dhabi, and we are going to enjoy the families. Then when we get to Rajkot, we drop the shoulder and go hard," the New Zealand coach said.
On his key batter Joe Root, who struggles in the first two Tests, McCullum said, "He's a world-class player and as good as any player England has ever seen. His method (in the final innings of second Test), whilst people will look to the dismissal, look at the method of his option and he was trying to get the field back so he could milk them."
"It is the bravery you have to take at times, and sometimes you get out doing it, but that's just the way the game rolls. There is no doubt from our point of view in that approach. There are three Tests left, still an opportunity to score a whole (lot) of runs," he added.