Michael Atherton Criticizes Generosity Of Indian Batsmen, Questions KL Rahul’s Conversion
By CricShots - Jan 27, 2024 11:46 am
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In the first Test between India and England in Hyderabad, the Indian batters displayed generosity by squandering their wickets, according to Michael Atherton. While most Indian batsmen, except Ravichandran Ashwin, made promising starts, none were able to convert them into centuries. Despite playing with intent, they perished in their quest for quick runs.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul missed out on a century

Opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal scored a brisk 80 off 74 balls, and his partner Rohit Sharma contributed 24 off 27 balls. Shubman Gill, batting at No. 3, scored 23 off 66 balls. KL Rahul, filling the No. 4 spot in the absence of Virat Kohli, played a crucial innings, scoring a sublime 86 off 123 balls.

In his column for The Times, Michael Atherton wrote: “It is hard to imagine that Virat Kohli would have been as obliging as his team-mates were here, and the biggest culprit was his replacement at No 4, the stylish and gifted KL Rahul, who had a hundred for the taking before hammering a long-hop from Tom Hartley into the deep.”

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However, Michael Atherton believes that KL Rahul, despite making a significant contribution, could have converted his innings into a big score, something he feels someone like Kohli wouldn’t have missed. Atherton expressed surprise at England’s use of Jack Leach, their lead spinner, on Day 2. Atherton found this puzzling that Jack Leach was sparingly used, bowling only two overs in the morning and seven in the afternoon, considering Leach’s previous growth in stature and confidence.

Jack Leach
Jack Leach

“The most puzzling aspect revolved around the deployment of Jack Leach, England’s most experienced spinner. Until now, Leach has been something of a pet project for Ben Stokes and, in response to the many shows of faith, Leach has responded by growing in stature and confidence,” Michael Atherton wrote.

The former England captain also highlighted Leach’s limited usage despite the medical team’s apparent satisfaction with his bowling loads in training leading up to the series. He pointed out that England’s decision to train in Abu Dhabi rather than play competitive matches in India could be a reason for Leach’s lack of match practice.

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“This clearly required some explanation, given the medical team were said to be happy with his bowling loads in training in the run-up to this series, with the obvious proviso (mine not theirs) of a lack of match practice, given England’s decision to train in Abu Dhabi rather than play competitive matches in India,” he added.

Adding to the complexity, England’s spin coach Jeetan Patel revealed that Leach is struggling with a serious knee injury. Despite this revelation, England opted for limited utilization of Leach on the second day of the Test match. India, at the close of play on Day 2, reached 421/7, extending their lead to 175 runs over England’s first-innings total of 246.