Graeme Swann: I'd back Joe Root to win that battle, but I'm a bit nervous about Virat
Former English spinner Graeme Swann recently opened up about the upcoming India’s tour of England. Swann predicts England Captain Joe Root to have an edge over Virat Kohli.
Talking about the rivalry among the ‘Fab Four’ – comprising of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith – and the constant struggle for one-upmanship, Swann said that he would bank on Root to get the better of Kohli. "I'd back Joe Root to win that battle, but I'm a bit nervous about Virat," he said.
The India cricket team is set to play to play 5 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is against England between July and September this year. Delving deeper into the details of the upcoming India’s tour of England, Swann said that Indian wrist spinners have a good chance of performing well on the tour as English batsmen don't pick wrist spin very well.
"Wrist spinners can do well in England. Yasir Shah did well for Pakistan last year. So, the English players don't tend to bowl wrist spin or pick it very well. If they're fit and they're picked and bowled, they could do very well.
"The trick is that in England you've to get people on the front foot, because the wicket's slightly slow, so as soon as you're slightly short, you get murdered around the ground. Why Yasir did really well for Pakistan is that he bowled quick leg spin… didn't allow batsmen to go on the backfoot. So, if they heed the advice of Shah, they (Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ) could have a very good time," Swann said on the sidelines of an event.
On the other hand, the off-spinner feels that England’s spin department is under transition after Moeen Ali’s exclusion from the squad for the Lords’ Test against Pakistan.
“India’s batting is a lot better. The last time around, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad just threw India away and Moeen Ali bowled really well. This time around, they've got Broad and Anderson who're still brilliant, still world class, but the back-up.... Moeen Ali is not even in the team against Pakistan. So, there's a big gap in the spinners department," he said.
When asked about Virat Kohli's county stint with Surrey, Swann said, "It's good Virat's been given a chance to go play for Surrey. He'll enjoy Surrey trust me. The wickets at the Oval are unbelievable to bat on. He will have a good tour.”