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Business News/ Sports / Cricket News/  'I'm not blind...': England coach Brendon McCullum defends Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root ahead of 4th Test
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'I'm not blind...': England coach Brendon McCullum defends Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root ahead of 4th Test

Despite poor show, England coach Brendon McCullum has backed the two elite players ahead of the 4th Test, to be played at JSCA stadium in Ranchi from 23 February.

England's Joe Root plays a shot on the fourth day of the third cricket test match between England and India in Rajkot, India, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (AP)Premium
England's Joe Root plays a shot on the fourth day of the third cricket test match between England and India in Rajkot, India, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (AP)

After facing their second-worst defeat since 1934 in terms of runs in the third Test, while playing against India, England players Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have been criticized for their performances by sports legends and critics.

However, England coach Brendon McCullum has backed the two players ahead of the 4th Test to be played at JSCA stadium in Ranchi from 23 February.

Looking at the stats, Bairstow has 102 runs from six innings with a highest of 37, while Joe Root's reverse scoop dismissal off Jasprit Bumrah on the third morning triggered a collapse from a strong position at 224-2 to 319 all out.

"I'm not blind but he's done so well for us (in the past) and he's had such an impactful career," AFP quoted England coach Brendon McCullum as saying of Bairstow, who will win his 99th cap in Ranchi.

ALSO READ: DRS at fault? England skipper Ben Stokes says, ‘If the ball's hitting the stumps…’

"We've got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise and keep him present and focused on what he's trying to achieve, and I'm sure Jonny will come good," he added.

Root, who has scored 11,493 runs in 138 Tests with 30 centuries, is also under the scanner. "It's Joe Root, crikey," said McCullum as he batted away criticism of the former captain's lean spell.

"I mean, seriously? The law of averages suggests he'll fill his boots in the next two."

Meanwhile, reports arrived that England skipper Ben Stokes may bowl in Ranchi in a badly needed boost for England. "There's definitely a chance," vice-captain Ollie Pope told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's not confirmed it even in the changing room, so we will see. He bowled at the batters today. See how he pulls up, and if that's good, hopefully we will see him with the ball in hand in the game."

England ready for Ranchi:

Since Stokes and McCullum took the reins in 2022, England have won 14 out of 21 Tests. But Stokes has now lost back-to-back Tests for only the second time as captain after winning the Hyderabad Test.

"We'll turn the page and go quids-in again trying to put India under pressure," said a defiant McCullum.

"Hopefully in seven or eight days we'll be talking about how exciting it is to be heading into a decider."

With agency inputs.

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Published: 21 Feb 2024, 09:29 PM IST
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