Boycott warns England opener

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iol spt aug11 Robson AP Geoffrey Boycott has told England opener Sam Robson there is a huge question mark against the batsman's international future. Photo by: Rui Vieira/AP

London – Geoffrey Boycott has told England opener Sam Robson there is a “huge question mark” against the Australia-born batsman's international future.

Boycott said Robson needed to become more secure outside off stump while England as a whole had to improve their batting against the short ball if they were to cope with Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson during next year's Ashes.

While hailing England's “terrific performance” in coming from 1-0 down in their ongoing five-Test series with India to lead 2-1

after crushing the tourists by an innings and 54 runs inside three days in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday, Boycott said there were areas that they “need to improve”.

Having seen Robson bowled for six shouldering arms at Old Trafford, Boycott – one of England's greatest opening batsmen Ä

wrote in his Daily Telegraph column on Monday: “There is a huge question mark over Robson.

“His judgment on what to play and what to leave around off stump is suspect. He gets out caught in the slip cordon or playing no stroke.

“The better the new ball bowler, the more balls he will put in the corridor of uncertainty at pace.

“That means off stump and three to four inches outside off stump on a full length. That is a danger area to all batsmen early in their innings.

“Your judgment, technique and footwork have to be spot on especially against a moving, swinging new ball, any flaw will be exposed. Robson has been found wanting too often this summer.

“But the selectors have already named the same squad for the Oval (where the fifth and final Test against India starts on Friday) so he will get another chance.

“He made a century at Headingley against Sri Lanka and that innings alone has kept him in the team. In fact that century has saved his bacon. Without that hundred in the bank he would have gone by now. Will he get better? Can he improve and shore up that flaw and be ready for the Australians next summer or should we be trying somebody else?

“I would have picked Adam Lyth of Yorkshire or Michael Carberry of Hampshire by now because I do not think Robson is going to rectify his problems.”

Meanwhile Boycott said the fact Stuart Broad had suffered a broken nose missing an attempted hook off India paceman Varun Aaron at Old Trafford was symptomatic of England's inability to deal with bouncers.

“The whole team fancy themselves to be good at hooking the short ball but they are not. Look at what happened in the winter (when England suffered a 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia).

“Mitchell Johnson blew away our tailenders. They were terrified and batted like scared rabbits.

“Now somebody needs to face up to the fact England are not very good at playing the short ball.

“If we can't play these Indian bowlers, who are nothing like the pace of Johnson, how the hell are we going to play him (in England) next year?

“They should learn to duck and weave and be selective at playing the occasional hook shot. Hubris and cockiness will not cut it.

“England's batsmen have to be smarter than that... to carry on as we are is stupid and more players will get smacked in the face.”

– Sapa-AFP


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