England have no chance to win against India - Graeme Swann
BT Sport cricket expert Graeme Swann believes lack of a world class spinner in England's touring squad will lead them to a series defeat in their upcoming tour of India.
England and India are scheduled to play five Test matches between 9th November and 20th December and Alastair Cook’s men are fresh from their first ever defeat to Bangladesh during the second Test in Dhaka which saw the hosts level the series 1-1.
The defeat also exposed England’s weakness in the spin department with both bat and the ball.
Despite, playing three spinners in the game in Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari, England were completely outplayed by Bangladesh spinners Mehedi Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan.
In an interview to Cricket World in association with ESPNCricinfo and The Cricket Paper, Swann lamented the system for not creating suitable environment for the spinners.
“We just don’t take spin seriously in this country. We have no world-class spinners everytime we head to sub-continent.
“We don’t have a full time spin bowling coach. We don’t have any type of system in place to provide support the spinners need. We are bad players of spin as well. We will lose in India.”
Citing the case of Somerset left-arm spinner, Jack Leach, who picked 107 wickets from 33 first-class matches, Swann urged the selectors to give importance to specialists rather than eyeing players who can bat and bowl a bit.
“Watching the game the other day, there was not enough pressure that was built. Felt for Cook as well. Picking three spinners doesn’t win you Test matches.
“We prefer guys who do both rather than choosing match winners. Spinners win you Test matches on day four and five.
“They have not played any spin bowlers opening the bowling in turning pitches. You can’t blame the players, who have been brought in a system that is inadequate.
“They are trying to address the issue. I could not even predict why Jack Leach was not picked in the squad. If he can bowl and pick wickets on spinning pitches then he is a good bowler. The wickets in India spin.”
India have defeated Australia, South Africa and New Zealand at home recently and are now the number one team in the ICC rankings.
Swann singled out off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as the major threat to England and for his exploit in the recent series against New Zealand, the 30-year-old went on to top the ranking for the bowlers in ICC rankings.
“I don’t think we have any chance in India knowing how we play spin. Jadeja doesn’t try to spin the ball. He bowls straight. Ashwin does everything at the other end.
“He is a massive turner of the ball and very rarely bowls the carom ball in Test cricket. He is very accurate and also bats well. He is a massive player for India.
“Everytime he bowls in India, he believes he will win the game. But doesn’t think the same overseas and that is why his record is poor outside India."
The last time England toured India in 2012, they managed to win the four-match series 2-1, riding on fabulous bowling performances from Swann and Monty Panesar.
The duo shared 37 wickets between them and troubled the Indian batsmen throughout the series.
Recalling the series victory, Swann stated that he and Panesar were lucky to have trained outside the “broken system” in place in England.
“We were lucky there. We were all products of a broken system. The best thing Duncan [Fletcher] did to me was not picking me.
“He made me a better bowler. I taught myself to bowl and so I was naggingly accurate. Monty was the same thing. He was naggingly consistent and Duncan dropped him.
“We were two products of the system that cast us aside and then came together gloriously at one point for the India tour.
“The combination for the Test in Mumbai where Monty came in for that Test match. He did not play the first game. It was Samit Patel, who played the first.
“Monty did not miss his spot at all in the entire Test match and absolutely battered them into submission.”
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