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Tim Paine ‘loves watching England lose’, grills Stokes with ‘Indian B team’ jibe as India primed to win series 4-1

Tim Paine and Brad Haddin said that for Ben Stokes, there is no hiding away from the fact that this is not the strongest Indian team to face.

Former Australia cricketers Brad Haddin and Tim Paine weighed in on the situation England find themselves in the ongoing Test series against India. Down 1-3 with the series having slipped from their hands, England are playing for pride in the 5th Test at Dharamsala, but given their position in the game, it’ll take a lot for that to happen. Having said that, win, lose or draw… irrespective of what the outcome is in Dharamsala, the one thing Ben Stokes got right in the series is his statement that scoreline doesn’t reflect how competitive the series has been

Ben Stokes has reasserted that England have played better than what the scoreline reflects(AP)

Like India’s tour of England in 2018, where Virat Kohli’s side lost 1-4, Stokes’s young brigade find themselves in the same boat. They won the series opener in Hyderabad, had their moments in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot, before running India really close in Ranchi. But in the end, three ‘L’s is what Stokes, Brendon McCullum and England will have to deal with.

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Perhaps it’s the same reason that prompted Stokes to say that England haven’t been ‘pushovers’ like some of the teams in the recent past. Calling it a bit of a ‘sledge’, Haddin said that although he absolutely enjoyed seeing captaincy masterstrokes and his handling of youngsters, there is just no hiding away from the fact that this Indian team isn’t at its strongest with some of their major star-power missing.

“It sounded like a thinly veiled sledge, didn’t it? You can’t fault Ben Stokes because he has been magnificent tactically in this series. England have got a very young spin attack in tough conditions in the sub-continent but young Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir have been fantastic and Ben Stokes deserves a lot of credit for that,” Haddin told Around The Wicket.

“But he has been playing against the Indian B team because there has been no Kohli, no Shami, Bumrah got rested last Test, KL Rahul is out and Rishabh Pant is still making his way back from that accident. They are not their strongest team but it just goes to show that the depth in Indian cricket is huge because there are some big names coming into this next era of Indian cricket. Jaiswal is leading the charge; young Jurel was magnificent in the last Test as well. So India are looking very strong.”

Tim Paine agrees with ‘India B team’ remark

No one knows what it’s like losing to an Indian second-string team more than Tim Paine. He was the captain of the famous 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, where India notched up one of their – if not the best – Test series win of all time. With Kohli flying home after the first Test, Shami and Umesh Yadav out injured, and no Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah available at the Gabba, Ajinkya Rahane led a bunch of spirited youngsters – Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant and Mohammed Siraj included – to give Indian cricket its greatest win in a long time.

Paine is in total agreement with Katich that this is a weakened Indian side and revealed that even though he loves to see England end up at the other end of the stick, their approach – fondly known as Bazball – has been more of a hit for him than miss.

“Yeah, I think Katich has absolutely nailed it. I totally agree with him and I know what it’s like to be beaten by an Indian B team. Unfortunately, it happened to us on our home soil. But yes, some huge names out for India, which should have certainly helped the English. I thoroughly enjoy watching England play the game, I love the way they are going about it. I love watching them lose. Don’t get me wrong but they are entertaining and exciting. They have been for Test cricket,” Paine added.


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