Former Australian cricketer Mike Hussey believes that despite different calls from around the globe, India must still back the experience of veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin over the young exuberance of wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
There are opinions around the cricket world that having outdone English batsmen during the recently concluded limited overs leg of the tour, Kuldeep should be preferred ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin, who has already made a place for himself amongst the best bowlers in the world with his record of 316 wickets at an average of 25.56 in just 58 Test matches but Hussey disagrees.
Hussey, who is in India as a Star Sports commentator for Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), was quoted saying, "I don't know what the selectors are thinking. Personally, I feel Ashwin should play ahead of Kuldeep. He has more than 300 Test wickets. Ashwin deserves his place in the starting XI, Ashwin against the left-handers could play a big role. Kuldeep has done brilliantly but I feel India should persist with Ashwin. Kuldeep is young and can learn along the way,"
Talking about India's chances in the upcoming series, Hussey said, "India is a good team playing good cricket. A lot of the players have been in England for a while, that is part of the battle. Getting used to the Duke balls, getting used to the pitches. It takes a while to get used to it, One more advantage is that they are playing later in the summer. The pitches generally are a bit more flatter. Perhaps the spinners might come into play a bit more. The weather, which is currently dry and hot, that might play into India's hands as well. One of the keys is scoring big runs. That will put scoreboard pressure on England.”
"England are a very good team in home conditions, they understand the conditions. They get a lot support from their crowds. I think India have some good support as well. It should be a fantastic series,"
When got asked if veterans - James Anderson and Stuart Broad - would have a decisive role in the series, Hussey reiterated, "Underestimate them at your own peril. Yes, better cricket may have been behind them but you still can't write off great players and they always come back and show their class. They always pose a threat. They are still fantastic competitors and will perhaps have a say in the way the series is played out,"
He also thinks that Virat Kohli would've learned a lot from his failure during the last tour and is a better player since then to make a huge difference to the result of the series.
Hussey signed off by saying, "The experience of last tour should help Virat Kohli. It's unfortunate that he couldn't play for Surrey due to an injury. He will be determined to do well this time. If he gets his confidence up and spends some time in the middle, he will be hard to stop."
(Inputs from PTI)