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India captain Virat Kohli warned over England pitch comments by Monty Panesar – EXCLUSIVE

India captain Virat Kohli warned over England pitch comments by Monty Panesar - EXCLUSIVE
India captain Virat Kohli will only be justified over his comments about the pitches against England if his team bats well on them, according to Monty Panesar. Kohli defended the spinning wicket at Ahmedabad in the third Test of the series last week, which saw the shortest Test match since before the Second World War. India won the game by 10 wickets after England were bowled out for just 81 in their second innings.
But India also struggled on the surface, which led to wide criticism from the cricket fraternity.

Kohli has since batted away the criticism, saying the low scores were due to a lack of skill from both sides.

But Panesar, speaking on behalf of Just Eat‘s new campaign which will allow fans in England to order food from 4am for the final Test match, does not think Kohli’s excuse will wash with cricket chiefs.

“I think what it is is that India needs to bat well to defend the pitch,” Panesar told Express Sport.

“India didn’t bat well either, it was only in the last innings where it was easy to chase 40-odd and win the game.

“In the second Test match when the wicket was turning, India batted better. They applied themselves better.

“So if India can apply themselves on these spinning wickets, and the bosses which are the ICC justify that we can produce turning pitches and India can score runs on them, then there is no argument because they can prove that yeah you can score runs on it.

“But if India don’t score runs and neither do England, then I don’t think it’s good for Test cricket that you have short Test matches.

“I think it just means that people won’t tune in as much.

“You want people to be watching the game and the longer the Test match, the better it is for the game.”

Speaking at his press conference on Wednesday, Kohli was clearly frustrated with the question marks surrounding the pitch.

The 32-year-old said: “I don’t understand why the cricket ball, the cricket pitch, all these things are brought into focus.

“Why don’t we just focus on the fact that the batsmen were just not skilled enough on that pitch to play properly, and it was a bizarre display of batting by both teams in a Test match, and I will continue to maintain that.”

Cricket fans in London, Manchester or Birmingham can order themselves a Full Indian Breakfast from Just Eat from 4am on Thursday morning.

And Panesar believes the initiative is a smart move, adding: “I think it is a great idea by Just Eat, which is the largest food delivery company in the world.

“What a great way to tune in and you can order a nice Indian breakfast.”

England boss Eddie Jones has uncomfortable reality to face up to amid Six Nations misery

England boss Eddie Jones has uncomfortable reality to face up to amid Six Nations misery
As England pick over the carcass of their failed Six Nations defence, Eddie Jones has been served up an easy scapegoat in Pascal Gauzere but there is also unpalatable gristle to stomach closer to home – not least his side’s fading finishing power.
In their two meaningful matches in this season’s Six Nations England have yet to register a single point in the final quarter. For a team which prides itself on the destructive impact of their bench that statistic should make for alarming reading.

Not so long ago the England coach was making a song and dance about how his finishers, as he referred to them, were changing the sport.

Now the question is whether England’s finishers are finished.

England were in striking distance after an hour against Scotland, when they were five points down, and Wales, when they were level, but drew a blank thereafter and were beaten in both matches.

Even in the gimme game against Italy, England only won the last quarter 9-7.

So much for the stormtroopers coming from the sidelines to alter the course of the game – the impact from the England bench has been negligible bordering on negative.

If the theme of the Principality Stadium party was conceding penalties, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge and Dan Robson all received their invitations while Robson also threw the interception pass from which Wales substitute Cory Hill eventually battered his way over the line.

The contrast with the impact Wales’s subs made in Cardiff could not have been more vivid with Hill’s bonus-point try coming after Callum Sheedy had kicked the penalties which put Wales out of sight.

Test rugby is, as Jones is fond of reminding people, a 23-man game now and England’s depth has been affected by the absence of forwards Sam Underhill, Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis and Courtney Lawes. Livewire scrum-half Harry Randall is also injured.

But England, of all the teams in the championship, should be able to put out a strong bench regardless given the numbers available to Jones.

After choosing six forwards amongst his eight replacements, as has been his habit of late, the England coach left two of them unused. Kyle Sinckler was going well at the time so there was a case to overlook Will Stuart but if Jones did not have sufficient faith in teenager George Martin to put him on the field why did he pick him?

England had second row and back row cover on the bench in Ewels and Ben Earl. Where was the potential backline game-breaker Paolo Odogwu?

The uncapped Wasp has not featured at all in the championship yet and by the time England face France a week on Saturday will not have played any rugby for eight weeks.

Jones has plenty to ponder in his selection for France. Maybe he should start with No 23 and work backwards.