How to stop Joe Root: the Manoj Tiwary pictorial guide

If Virat Kohli needs any help devising a plan to negate England captain Joe Root, then he need look no further than Manoj Tiwary. He has not only got such a plan, he’s kindly posted it on Twitter, complete with instructions on how to enlarge it in order to fully appreciate the detailed annotations it contains.

No doubt Kohli, who is about to play his 89th Test and has a win-rate as captain of 58 per cent, will be poring hard over it like a man grappling with assembly instructions for an Ikea flatpack wardrobe. If he needs help, he can always call Manoj, who it must be said, never played a Test match, but does have 12 ODIs and one T20 International to his name.

So, what is the Manoj – Root Plan?

Designed specifically for a spinning track and the right-arm off spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar, it is a 7-2 legside field, with no slip and just a straight mid-off and a short third man on the off side.

Tweeted Manoj: “Since Joe Root is in red hot form wit d bat. I have chalked out a field placement plan 4 Ashwin nd Washington if it might help. Dis plan is only 4 Spinning friendly pitches. 7/2 on the On side wit No slip catcher. Zoom in d picture guys 4 detailed reasoning.”

Clearly it’s looking to blunt the Root sweep, which has been so productive for him in Sri Lanka and during his mammoth 218 and breezy 40 in the first Test. However, whilst in theory it should also apply for the left-arm unorthodox bowling of Kuldeep, should he take his place in India’s attack for the second Test, it would rather blunt the effectiveness of his googly and indeed, Ravi Ashwin’s carrom ball to have no close catchers in front of the wicket on the off side.

If the pitch behaves towards the end as it did in the first Test, then all sorts of field variations might be tried, all of them attacking whichever team has to bat last.

Joffra Archer, who will miss this Test with an elbow injury, gave it a withering judgment. In his column for a British tabloid, he wrote: “On the fifth day, it was probably the worst surface I’ve seen — its orange colour, bits missing, rough patches for the bowlers to aim at.

“When we walked out in search of nine wickets on the fifth day, I was very hopeful we would complete the job — although these Indian players have big reputations and are at home, so should be able to cope with conditions better than anyone. So, I didn’t expect us to skittle them. Equally, I didn’t expect it to finish not long after afternoon drinks.”

According to The Times of India, the BCCI has put overseeing duties for the second Test into the hands of Indian team management, although the chief local groundsman, Ramesh Kumar, who hadn’t prepared a pitch even for a first-class game before the first Test, is still the groundsman.

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