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India vs England 2020-21 – Jonathan Trott on importance of first-innings runs as England brace for Chennai challenge

Jonathan Trott, England’s batting consultant in India, has stressed the importance of big first-innings runs, with contributions all down the order, as the team puts in its final preparations ahead of Friday’s opening Test at Chennai.

Trott, who has taken over the role filled by Jacques Kallis in Sri Lanka, was a part of the last England side to win a series in India in 2012-13 – a campaign in which Joe Root, now set to play his 100th Test, made his first England appearance in a series-settling draw in Nagpur.

And just as that triumph was built on England’s ability to put big first-innings runs on the board – they posted scores of 413 and 523 in their two victories at Mumbai and Kolkata – so too will be their hopes of competing against an India side riding high after a hard-fought series win in Australia.

“The message varies from player to player, but the fundamentals of playing in India are pretty much the same,” Trott said. “It’s about big runs in the first innings, like anywhere else, but in India it’s really, really important.”

Although England can expect a typically stiff examination of their techniques against spin, with R Ashwin fit again, and either Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav set to partner him, Trott also stressed that India’s pace attack is a match for any line-up in the game, with Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma the probable spearheads in Chennai.

“We saw their pace attack in Australia do really well, and they’re very talented all round with the ball,” he said. “For batters nowadays, as you go around the world, everyone’s got a good pace attack, so it’s crucially important to prepare for both.

“I wouldn’t reinvent the wheel with the guys,” he added. “But it’s about making sure that they’re in the right space and ready to do whatever the conditions dictate, and that their all-round game is in tip top shape. That comes down to us as coaches, but also as players taking responsibility, not only in training but in the matches as well.

“Confronting the new ball and perhaps the reversing ball, with spin in the middle, and the seamers doing a very good holding job, your skill level has to be very high, especially when playing in the heat and humidity of Chennai. You have to be very, very switched on.

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