Former England captain Michael Atherton reckons India’s superior spin attack will win them the five-Test home series against Ben Stokes-led England.
The first Test begins in Hyderabad on Thursday, and England decided to prepare for the tour in Abu Dhabi rather than playing a tour game in India.
Only Jack Leach is a seasoned spinner in the England squad, with the others being the inexperienced Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, and Rehan Ahmed. India boasts R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav.
“I think India will win. Their spinners are better than England’s, and that will be the defining thing in the end,” Atherton told Skysports.
England last won a series in India back in 2012, when Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar outbowled their Indian counterparts.
“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,” said Atherton.
“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,” he added.
The pitches are expected to turn from day one in India, providing a massive test for the England batters.
Source website: sportstar.thehindu.com