The buzz about the upcoming Test series between India and England has already begun in both countries despite it being still two months away.
Even few players have already started preparation for the much-awaited Test series likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, who are currently playing their trade in English County cricket to adjust them in England’s condition before the series.
Even Indian skipper Virat Kohli will also play County cricket for Sussex in a bid to get the experience of the English track and get Test match ready that will certainly help the Indian players during the tough series.
Indian players’ decision to play County cricket is highly hailed by Sri Lankan great Chaminda Vaas, who played County cricket on regular basis, saying the county experience will help them in England.
Vaas is currently in India as the coach at Centre of Excellence programme by Jwala Sports Foundation. Speaking to DNA, the fast bowling great said, “When it comes to England, it is a different ball game. There is a lot of patience needed. I am sure the way India is playing right now, they will do well. Even the captain has set an example, being a fit person, trying to achieve all his objectives.”
He further added, “County is a different ball game. While playing County cricket you need to be patient. The ball moves a lot compared to the subcontinent. You need to spend more time in the middle and try to build innings. I am sure all the county experience will help them.”
Meanwhile, Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer, who regularly played club cricket in England, agrees with Vaas, saying it will help the Indian players immensely.
The highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy cricket further noted, “If you see Zaheer Khan, he was a different bowler when he came back after his Worcestershire stint. And before that, whoever has played there - Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble - learned a lot. Because you play four-five months of non-stop cricket in different conditions. You learn the art of how to score runs, how to take wickets, and that is what teaches you. It will help them immensely.”
On being asked if Kohli will succeed in England, Vaas said, “I am sure he will be. He is an amazing guy and cricketer. He wants to be the best in the world. He just needs to be patient, respect the bowler and leave the ball in the first few minutes. Once he gets his eye, he can go for his shots. He will learn quickly and will be able to get runs. The County still will be helpful.”
On the other hand, Jaffer opines on Kohli, “I think he wants to leave no stone unturned in his preparation. Going there and playing County cricket I think will help him a lot before the Test series. He obviously has scored all over the world except for in England. That's something he has to prove to himself and people also, but more to himself. Going to England and playing in the month of June and July I think is the best preparation. The more matches he plays the more it will help them. I don’t see he is going to fail this time around. He is a much more mature player, much more refined. Mentally very matured and technically very stable than what he was in 2013-14. So, I don’t see him failing this time.”
Jaffer also gives a crucial advice to Kohli concerning the English conditions, saying, “The pitch condition changes as the weather changes. You have to learn how to adapt as a batsman or bowler. More or less, Virat needs to play the ball late, with soft hands, initially. 20-25 balls are very vital. I think from his last series (in England) he might have learned a lot.”
Both Jaffer and Vaas are confident that the Indian pacers have the potential to do well in England.
Former Sri Lankan said, “Over the years past one year, India has a full bowling squad. Bhuvi, Ishant, Shami, Bumrah all have been bowling really well. Some have played in England and done well there. It’s all about accuracy and consistency. If they put in right areas, try to play the patient game, even the bowlers will do well in England.”
Jaffer signed off by saying, “It’s the best attack. We never had bowlers so many bowlers who bowled around 140kmph. Plus there is Hardik Pandya who gives you stability with the bat too. There are good spinners as well. Ashwin has a lot to prove. Kuldeep will be there. The ball spins in England on the fourth-fifth day. We have most bases covered.”