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Rohit was not ‘superior’ as captain, feels Swann

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NEW DELHI: Former England spinner

Graeme Swann

believes

Rohit Sharma

‘s captaincy during the five-match Test series wasn’t superior to

Ben Stokes

‘ and attributed India’s success more to the effectiveness of their bowlers under Rohit’s leadership rather than solely crediting his captaincy.
Despite the focus on Stokes’ leadership style before and during the series, Rohit’s team ultimately emerged victorious with a 4-1 score line.

“I don’t think he has been superior as a captain because his bowlers have done the trick for him. I think he’s got more weapons at his armoury,” Swann told PTI Videos in an exclusive chat after India inflicted an innings and 64-run defeat on England in the fifth and final Test in Dharamsala on Saturday.
“He’s been good don’t get me wrong, Rohit Sharma, but, I don’t think if you pick this apart and say Stokes has captained badly, I think you are barking up the wrong tree there.

“Rohit Sharma’s bowlers have really come to town for him, come to the party for him, in the last four Test matches, they didn’t in the first one but they have done for the last four,” Swann noted.
No blaming Bazball
Far from blaming ‘Bazball’ for England’s loss, Swann said Stokes and Co actually failed to play the brand of cricket that has brought them success in recent times.
Swann’s observation is in stark contrast to the views expressed by few other former players who attributed the drubbing to the visitors’ fixation with Bazball.

“I don’t think we have seen Bazball in this trip whatsoever, we saw it for one innings of this Test series, that’s when Ollie Pope got a 190, and that was the definition of bazball,” he said.
“I think England, where they have fallen flat in this series is, they have not been brave enough. I don’t think they have played what you guys in the media call Bazball.
“I think if they had, I think this series would have been closer if I am honest.”
Bazball, which is derived from England Test coach Brendon McCullum’s nickname Baz, fell flat as the tourists capitulated inside three days in the fifth Test, helping India secure their 17th straight Test series triumph on home soil.
On the match getting over in under three days, Swann said: “I would say it’s a very good advertisement for Test cricket, because it was an exciting match.
“India were just too good for England in this game. It’s always at the end of a series if it’s already been won by one team, you worry that this will happen, the resistance will be completely blown away and it was in this Test match.
“So England will have to go home and shake themselves off wondering where it went so badly wrong. India are world class especially their bowling attack, and that was really shown again in this Test match.”
As a former off-spinner himself, Swann applauded Ravichandran Ashwin’s stupendous performance on his 100 Test match.
“You know what it’s brilliant, to get a fifer on his hundredth Test match. I have not actually seen him, I was looking to go and congratulate him myself but I will have to do that at the hotel later.
“Bowling so well and making those early inroads, that was brilliant, possibly one of his best fifers in his 100 Test matches, so you have got to take your hat off to Ashwin,” he observed.
On James Anderson becoming the first fast bowler to reach 700 wickets, Swann said: “He’s a joke, Jimmy is an absolute joke, how he has kept going for all this amount of time.
“When I say it’s a joke I mean that in a good way, he’s been incredible, and to get 700 wickets, well you know it’s almost nonsensical the achievement and I love him to bits.
“I was kind of hoping when he almost bounced Kuldeep out, almost hit his gloves and bobbled in the air, that would have been the dream for Jimmy, because he has not bowled a decent bouncer for 10 years, but he has now.”
(With inputs from PTI)

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