AHMEDABAD: England’s captain Joe Root plays a shot on the third day of the fourth Test cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on March 6, 2021. – AFP

AHMEDABAD: England must take their Test mauling by India “on the chin” and not just blame the conditions, according to captain Joe Root. Root also staunchly defended the rotation policy that has seen mass team changes between the six Tests in Sri Lanka and India.

After seeing his side go down by an innings and 25 runs in Ahmedabad on Saturday, the England skipper admitted his players had been “outplayed” by India who won the series 3-1. India “performed very well, they exploited the surface very well, they showed us how to bat on that wicket. And similarly today with the ball they were excellent,” he said.

Root said there had been times in the games when the two sides had been “at parity” but India better “exploited” the crumbling pitches that became a spinners’ paradise. “Their experience of these conditions as a whole probably just outweighed us and was a big difference in this series,” he said

Can do better
England can now look forward to inquests with particular attention on team selection and the changes forced by the rotation policy that saw star spinner Moeen Ali go home for the two final tests. Batsman Jonny Bairstow played in Sri Lanka, missed the opening tests in India and then scored three zeros in four innings on his return.

Root, whose double century in the first Test has been overshadowed by the following losses, said both issues would be looked at because defeat had been “disappointing” and “frustrating” and that errors could have been made in team choices. “That’s something that you as captain have to take on the chin and you have to understand that every now and again, you’re going to make mistakes,” he said.

“I think the guys have to embrace what has happened. They have to be realistic. There are areas where we can get better,” he said. “We would be stupid to come away from this trip and say: ‘Oh it was India, it was extreme conditions, the ball was spinning, it was skidding, it was impossible to bat’. That is the wrong attitude. The most important thing is to come away and say ‘you know there are things we can get better at’.”

Root said England’s rotation policy was introduced because of the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic and the heavy schedule this year with 17 Tests, the Twenty20 World Cup bringing them back to India and then a crunch Ashes tour in Australia.

“We have said all along that making sure that players are looked after and that their welfare and wellbeing is paramount,” he said. “It is difficult, of course as a captain you want all the players available all of the time. But in the current climate it’s just not possible. We have got to get away from playing guys and running them into the ground until they fall over.”

And Root concluded with a veiled warning for when India visit England this summer. “We know when we come home and play in our own conditions, it will be very different. Yes, there will be things to look at, but also we’re not a bad side just because of these three games.” – AFP