England Under Pressure by Cricket today
in Sports / Extreme Sports (submitted 2014-07-08)
After being beaten by Sri Lanka in a test series on home soil for the first time, England will look
to recover its reputation with five matches against India. It's the first five-test series in 55 years
between the two countries. They will be played quickly, across 42 days, and will shape the
futures of players on both sides. Here are five things to know going into the first test match at
Trent Bridge in Nottingham, starting Wednesday:
COOK UNDER PRESSURE: For England captain Alastair Cook, he simply must get a big score
soon, preferably a century. He has gone 25 innings without reaching three figures and
acknowledged after the defeat against Sri Lanka that not only his captaincy is in question, but his
place in the team too. "No one has got a divine right to captain the side or play in the side if
you're not performing," he said. "I am determined to turn this around." Fellow batsman Joe Root,
who made a double-century in the first test against Sri Lanka, believes England collectively must
play better. "We've obviously got a point to prove," he said. "We're going to have to play some
seriously good cricket but we are more than capable of doing that as a side."
BEN STOKES BACK? The performance of Ben Stokes was one of the few positives England
could take from its Ashes whitewash. He is an all-rounder, who made 120 in his second test
appearance and, in a total of four matches for England, has 15 wickets with best figures of 6-99.
The English media expect him to start on Wednesday, but who Stokes replaces is a cause for
debate. Liam Plunkett's name has been mentioned but the fast bowler took nine wickets against
Sri Lanka at Headingley. Chris Jordan could drop out but he has shown confidence with bat and
ball. With a potential 25 days of cricket out of 42 coming up, both teams might be forced to
rotate to avoid fatigue.
Shakib Al Hasan suspended
Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan was suspended by the Bangladesh Cricket Board from
all competitions for six months and forbidden from playing overseas until the end of 2015 due to
his "severe attitude problem." BCB president Nazmul Hassan said the punishment, which was
handed down at a board of directors meeting, stemmed from Shakib's recent behavioral issues.
The cricket star has clashed with Bangladesh's new coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, and gotten
into an altercation with a spectator during a recent one-day international against India in Mirpur.
He also went to the Caribbean to play in a Caribbean Premier League tournament without
permission and reportedly threatened to quit playing tests for the country when asked to return.
Hassan said Shakib has a "severe attitude problem," worse than the team has seen before. "If he
was a player who played just once and nobody knew him, that would have been a different
issue," he said. "Shakib is our role model, he is our country's ambassador. Many in the world
know Bangladesh because of Shakib. That is why we think that a person of his level should be
able to maintain his self-discipline."
Hassan said Shakib's behavior has started to rub off on his teammates, causing them to act in a
similar manner. "If this continues, this will be destroy the future of our cricket," he said. "So
that's why we believe that he obviously deserves a strict punishment." The ban means Shakib
will miss Bangladesh's upcoming West Indies tour starting next month, as well as a home series
against Zimbabwe in either October or November. When asked if his suspension will affect the
composition of the team, board director AZM Nasiruddin said, "There is no way that his
suspension will have an adverse impact on the team. The team, rather, will be more disciplined."