England are in a very good position to play India – Graeme Swann￼
England will play India on the back of the three-Test series against the Black Caps and former great off-spinner Graeme Swann hopes it would make the hosts slight top choices going into the rescheduled fifth Test beginning in Birmingham on Friday.
England will play India on the back of the three-Test series against the Black Caps and former great off-spinner Graeme Swann hopes it would make the hosts slight top choices going into the rescheduled fifth test beginning in Birmingham on Friday.
England on Monday completed a 3-0 series whitewash against New Zealand after winning the final test by seven wickets.
“England are in a very good position and I would say they are slight favorites because of that series (against New Zealand),”Swann said in virtual interaction, facilitated by Sony Sports, official broadcasters of the India-England series.
“And the fact that India just had one (warm-up) game in England, so they are coming in cold (for) the Test match, which is a bit of disadvantage. They (England) have got the three-Test matches under their belt, so that makes them pre-game favorites.”
Swann lauded the aggressive brand of cricket played by England under new captain Ben Stokes and new head coach Brandon McCullum and said this was a “bad time” to face England.
“It is a really bad time to play England because they just played these three games against New Zealand.
“You are going to face an England team where Joe Root is back to his absolute best, where Olive Pope is playing his best-ever for England. Ben Stokes has amalgamated the team and got playing in an ultra-positive and rock and roll fashion.
“There are chinks in the armor – the opening batting slot is still very weak. But nearly all the other spots had excellent (returns). Even the spinner Jack Leach, who is under a lot of pressure, has got 10 wickets in a match,”explained Swann.
The fifth test is from last year’s incomplete series against England which got rescheduled because of the outbreak of Covid in the Indian camp.
The 43-year-old who has scalped 255 wickets in 60 Tests, picked Root and Stokes as key players for England.
“It is quite simple for England, it will be Joe Root and Ben Stokes, if they continue their form, their sort of ethos, England will do well. Stokes is leading from the front and he is a natural leader. Joe Root is thriving and batting at his absolute best,”he said.
Talking about India, he said:
“I think Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli (key players). If Kohli plays with the same freedom that Joe Root is playing now, we are all in for a treat.
“Virat is a wonderful player and if Jasprit gets his line and length with that Duke’s ball, he is unplayable,”he added.