Graeme Swann said Australia isn’t the “best team in the world anymore” and England must come out of their “obsession” of just beating Australia and winning the Ashes if they want to achieve something big, they need to strive to beat India in India in their upcoming Test series.
His comments came after injury-hit Team India thrashed Australia in the recent four-Test series with a second-string squad to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the second consecutive time. The former spinner further noted that beating India in India is a far bigger achievement than the Ashes now.
India and England are scheduled to play four Tests from next month followed by 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs and Swann feels the Indian cricket team is “virtually unbeatable in India” and the tourists must take the upcoming Test series more seriously than Ashes to record their first Test series win in India since 2012.
Swann told tabloid 'The Sun' on Friday (January 22), “England always saying 'well the Ashes are coming up'. Australia is not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles... they're not now, but we're obsessed with this.”
He further added, “We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They're virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn't that the whole thing?”
The 41-year-old Swann, who took 255 wickets with his off-spin from 60 Tests between 2008 and 2013, said England needs a spinner who can take wickets and can bat brilliantly against the spin attack like former batsman Kevin Pietersen in India to beat the hosts in Tests.
Graeme Swann picked 20 wickets in 4 Tests when England won the Test series in India in 2012 and was the highest wicket-taker with India's Pragyan Ojha.
He further explained, “Why aren't people saying 'right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India'.
We're not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets and then we've got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen.”
Swann signed off by saying, “He was ultra-aggressive. Let's face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there. We haven't done it since, we haven't learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven't gone on and used that as the blueprint.”
(With PTI Inputs)