Ravindra Jadeja (left) and Ravichandran Ashwin. (AFP Photo)
Former England captain Michael Atherton believes India’s spin attack is better as compared to the visitors’ line-up and added that the difference between the two spin departments will be a series-defining factor.
Bazball has made form some exceptional batting from England in recent times. But, despite their fiery batting line-up, former England skipper Michael Atherton believes that it is going to be the spinners, who will weave the tale and make the bigger difference as England set off to take on India in a five-match Test series.
India is notorious for having spin-friendly tracks. And with the Indians possessing a lethal spin attack that is anchored by the highly-experienced quartet of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, and left-arm spin all-rounders of Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel, Atherton believes that it is the superior quality of spinner that the hosts possess that will also be a major factor in the showdown.
It is not to say that the English side do not possess a spin attack themselves. In fact, England have a four-member spin-bowling attack in Jack Leach, leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, uncapped duo of left-arm spinner Tom Hartley and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir.
But, the issue here is the fact that out of the four availbale spinners, only left-arm spinner Leach has played Tests previously in India. And it is expected that this lack of experience will rear its ugly head as the series progresses.
“I think India will win. Their spinners are better than England’s and that will be the defining thing in the end. If you go to India, spin will play a big part, it historically has done and I suspect it always will do. India do have a very strong seam attack as well,” exclaimed Atherton on Sky Sports.
“India’s four spinners are very different to England’s. They have two left-arm finger spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. They have a wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the greatest spinners of all time.”
“England have a solid left-arm spinner in Jack Leach and then three very inexperienced spinners after that with Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir and Rehan Ahmed. It will be a particular challenge for them but the selectors see a high ceiling for them.”
It’s not merely the calibre of spinners that England will have to overcome but also history.
India have been dominant against the England side in the long format, to be exact, in 16 consecutive Test series at home ever since they lost 2-1 to Alastair Cook’s England side in 2012.
So, a fascinating duel between the two sides can be expected as the series will begin from Hyderabad on January 25, followed by other matches at Visakhapatnam (February 2-6), Rajkot (February 15-19), Ranchi (February 23-27) and Dharamshala (March 7-11).