• England in India 2012

Botham calls for England overhaul

ESPN staff
November 20, 2012
Sir Ian Botham says Stuart Broad was 'underwhelming' against India © Getty Images

Former England captain Sir Ian Botham has urged Alastair Cook to shuffle his pack ahead of the second Test against India in Mumbai.

England find themselves trailing 1-0 in the four-match Test series after they slumped to a nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad, despite a spirited second innings from captain Cook.

The team's seamers of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan picked up a single wicket between them, while the middle order failed to deliver at the crease.

And Botham, who averaged 61.55 and took 30 wickets in seven Test matches in India, says major changes must be made if England are to haul themselves back into the series.

"England are in the mire in India yet again and already the time is now to be bold to get back into the series," Botham wrote in his Daily Mirror column.

"With the exception of Alastair Cook, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, this first Test was a huge let down and the nine wicket defeat was as straightforward a result as India could have wished for.

"If you keep doing the same things then you can expect the same results, so it is time for a change to try and beat the Indians at their own game, because the English way of doing it sure isn't working. Three seamers, a spinner and a part-time spinner is a luxury you cannot afford in this part of the world and it is time to wake up and realise what is required.

"The batsmen seriously let the side down in the first innings and they know it. If it wasn't for Cook and Prior this match could have been a humiliation. It is time the other batsmen stood up and played their part. They need to know that an England place isn't for life based on previous performances, they have to keep earning it."

Botham called for selectors to bring in Eoin Morgan as a replacement for Ian Bell, who has travelled home for the birth of his first child, and called for the immediate return of Steven Finn, who missed the first Test with an injury.

"Ian Bell performed like a man who was already on his way to the hospital for the birth of his child and maybe in hindsight he shouldn't have played in the first place," Botham said. "Perhaps he should have gone back before the game because it didn't look like he was focused and that is something to bear in mind in the future if these guys want to go home.

"I think Eoin Morgan plays the spinners as well as anyone else, and has improved his game since the UAE. He hits the ball in unusual areas and offers a left hand variation which will make the Indian bowlers think.

"I would bring Finn straight in for the variation that he offers which is pace. Give him short sharp bursts of three or four overs maximum and use him as a strike bowler."

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