Individual and collective determination will drive England’s misfiring middle order to try to follow the shining example set by their captain Alastair Cook in India, according to Jonathan Trott.
Opener Cook alone did himself justice among the tourists’ top six, scoring more than 200 runs in the first Test, yet he was still unable to prevent a nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad.
Time is short for England to address the problems encountered by batsmen three to six, who could muster only 68 runs between them in their combined eight innings. Trott is one of those batsmen and yesterday stressed that, if they are to do significantly better, as they must to be competitive in the second Test in Mumbai which starts tomorrow – they need to replicate Cook’s strategy against Indian spin.
“Everyone is individual,” said Trott. “But what you can take from him is his determination and stubbornness. To say: ‘This is how I play. This is how I’m going to do it. I’m not going to try to change. This is going to work for me and this is how it’s going to happen’.
“It did and set the standard for what we as batsmen want to be able to do. I certainly want to do that. Every single one [of us] from one to nine wants to be able to do that.”
Trott made a first-innings duck at the Sardar Patel Stadium, followed by 17. It is 16 innings since the previously prolific No 3 made the last of his seven Test centuries at Galle against Sri Lanka in March,.
He has fared acceptably but hardly prodigiously since then, and is setting his sights on an overdue innings of substance.
“You know it’s possible,” he said, of run-scoring in the sub-Continent. “There are a lot of ifs but the crux of the matter is we’re 1-0 down and we’ve got to play a lot better on Friday.
“A great challenge lies ahead, and we’ve got some hard work to do but this team has overcome huge challenges in the last couple of years so it would be good to add this to the collection.”
England’s middle order will be disrupted by one enforced change this week, with Ian Bell temporarily back at home following the birth of his first child on Monday. The likelihood is that there will be a return at No 5 for Jonny Bairstow, arguably unlucky to be overlooked for the first Test after making 95 and 54 in his last two innings at the highest level as the then out-of-favour Kevin Pietersen’s understudy against South Africa at Lord’s.
The final batting spot will be between Samit Patel, twice a shade unfortunate to be given out lbw in Ahmedabad, and left-hander Eoin Morgan – who may yet sway selection to try to help Cook break up the lines of India’s two spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin.