Indian-England series is just a month away and talks about the squad has already begun in both countries, many cricket greats and cricket pundits have expressed their views on it.
Recently, former Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble has opined how spinners can play a key role for India during their England tour in July, and now former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has joined him, but he has thrown his support behind the experienced R Ashwin for England series.
Kumble backed Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as a key weapon for Virat Kohli in England, but renowned Cricket commentator Swann believes that the Tamil Nadu tweaker can turn things for India. However, Swann also believes that the wrist-spinners also will do well in England.
At the moment, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are India’s premier bowling options when it comes to spin, though Ashwin is the key member of Indian Test squad, but have not played White-ball cricket since Champions Trophy 2017 in England. Ashwin was not named in India’s limited overs’ squad for England tour, but Swann believes India should have picked him in their squad.
Recently, Ashwin has added a leg-spin variation to his bowling arsenal in a bid to get selected for India’s White-ball squad once again, but England great says if he had to pick only one spinner in the team, then he would be Ashwin only if he sticks to off-spin.
As per reports in Deccan Chronicle, Swann said on Wednesday (16 May) during an Espncricinfo event in Mumbai, “I will pick, Ravi Ashwin. Experience counts for everything. He has done it. I will take him aside and I would say, “Look, stop trying to do your leg-spin, bowl off-spin.” Swanny, bowlers need to patient. If he can do it in India, he can do it anywhere.”
However, Ashwin enjoys a stellar record while playing in the subcontinent and has taken 263 wickets in 42 Tests, which included 24 five-wicket hauls, but he has struggled outside, having scalped just 48 wickets in 15 Tests, but Swann thinks he still can do well in England, when he was asked whether we will get to see Ashwin succeed in the UK.
Former leg-spinner further added, “Actually, England is, I always thought the best place to bowl off-spin. I don’t know what India thinks would be. The thing with India is, it’s so hot, and you have to bowl long spells and you get sweaty and tired, but in England, the temperature never fights you. You’re always fresh throughout the day. And the wickets do spin, not necessarily on Day One and Two but as the game goes on and it gets dry and dusty, they spin later on. Especially at Edgbaston, Lords, Trent Bridge.”
Swann signed off by saying, “And I think, he (Ashwin) should relish his chances in England. I had my best returns in England. A lot of the time because people don’t expect you to do much, but we’ve seen over the years that spin bowling and England go hand-in-hand. I think the one place where finger spin doesn’t really work is Australia because the wicket is so good and their players are very good when the ball’s not spinning.
They’re very bad when the ball spins so when Australia come to India, Ashwin absolutely bowls through the Aussies. No problem. So, I think he’ll enjoy England. You got to go in a very positive mindset. In India you’ve got more than one spinner, so… I think it’s going to be a great series despite England not having a confident spinner at the moment. I think it’s a massive fillip for India.”