Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal

Graeme Swann has said that he would have Indian leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the Indian Test squad straight away and also called him world-class. The former England spinner Graeme Swann has said that he would have selected Yuzvendra Chahal in the Indian Test squad.

31-year-old Yuzvendra Chahal has been one of India’s top bowlers since making his debut in 2016. He has appeared in 61 ODIs and has picked up 104 wickets. In T20Is, he has 75 scalps from 60 matches. However, the leg-spinner is yet to play a single game in the longest format of the game.
Yuzvendra Chahal in action during 2nd T20I against South Africa in Cuttack (BCCI Photo)
Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the 2nd T20I against South Africa in Cuttack (BCCI Photo)

Graeme Swann Reckons World-Class Yuzvendra Chahal Should Be In Indian Test Squad

Graeme Swann said that he would pick the Indian spinner straight away into the Test squad if the 31-year-old wants to represent his nation in the longest format.

“I’d sit down with Yuzi and I’d say, ‘What is it? Do you want to play for India?’ If he does, I’d have him in the squad straight away,” said Swann.

Graeme Swann © Getty Images
Graeme Swann © Getty Images

The former England cricketer also said that he thinks Yuzvendra Chahal is world-class and is the best spinner in the world in his opinion. He also expressed his admiration for Yuzvendra Chahal’s ability to bowl in tricky conditions.

“I think he is world-class, he is the best spinner in the world in my opinion. His control, bowling leg-spin in very tricky conditions, especially when that ball gets dew on it and gets wet is incredible,” said Graeme Swann.

The 30-year-old has a solid record in first-class cricket, picking up 84 wickets in 31 games. However, the likes of Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, and Shahbaz Nadeem have featured ahead of him in recent years whenever India’s frontline spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja) have been unavailable for Tests.

Graeme Swann Reckons England Has Struggled With Spinners Since He Retired

The former English bowler also said that spinners get easily pigeonholed into one or the other format by the selectors very early in their careers and then find it hard.

“Definitely people get pigeonholed into one or the other format and can then find it hard.”

“Well, I should say Yuzi is the best white-ball spinner then because we don’t know if he can be the best red-ball spinner. But it shows that some cricketers have been pigeonholed into the white-ball format,” said Swann.

England's Jack Leach (left) celebrates with a 5 wicket ball during day two of the third LV= Insurance Test Series Match at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds. Picture date: Friday June 24, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the ECB. Still image use only. No moving images to emulate broadcast. No removing or obscuring of sponsor logos.
England’s Jack Leach (left) celebrates with a 5-wicket ball (Photo: PA)

“England has struggled with spinners since I finished. They’ve had some good bowlers, though. Moeen Ali is a vastly under-rated off-spinner. He could have taken more Test wickets. The main issue is the way spinners are captained and looked after in England. It is diabolical. A lot of captains in English cricket don’t understand how a spinner works, how his mind needs to be during a game, how his field setting needs to be. I was lucky I had captains who let me take onus and control,” said Graeme Swann.

Graeme Swann reckons the pitch at Edgbaston will favour England spinner, Jack Leach who completed his first Test 10-wicket haul in the 3rd Test match against New Zealand. Left-arm spinner Jack Leach (5-66) took his second five-wicket haul of the match, finishing with figures of 10-166

“With the change in management, things might be different for spinners here. Baz McCullum as coach has been brilliant so far. The confidence that breeds in players, when you’ve got a coach who backs you and a captain in Ben Stokes who is happy if you set attacking fields…it makes you believe in yourself. That could work in Leach’s favour. In Edgbaston, you might see some good spin bowling from England. It’s a wicket that definitely does turn, and Jack should be confident,” said Graeme Swann.

While Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed four wickets in the WTC final last year, warmed the bench for all the four Tests that followed, Ravindra Jadeja has claimed six wickets in the series and managed 160 runs. Graeme Swann reckons Ravichandran Ashwin must be preferred despite the fact that he had just recovered from Covid-19.

“What a bowler he (Ravichandran Ashwin) is. The professor of spin. He sometimes over-thinks it but he knows what he is doing and he knows exactly what he is going to do at Edgbaston. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a long bowl in the second innings. If Leach can get 10 at Headingley, India’s spinners will enjoy Edgbaston. India will be crazy not to play Ashwin,” said Graeme Swann.

“Definitely people do get pigeonholed into one or the other format and can then find it hard. A lot of bowlers come through and they’re seen as just T20 bowlers. They’re happy to bowl with the white ball too, in fact they don’t want to bowl with the red ball! In England, we have Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali who are our world-class white-ball specialists. They don’t enjoy bowling with the red ball!”

Moeen Ali has confirmed his willingness to return to Test cricket for this winter’s tour of Pakistan and has announced that he is officially “unretired” following a conversation on Sunday morning with England’s new head coach, Brendon McCullum. Moeen Ali called time on his Test career in September, after claiming 195 wickets in 64 Tests, as well as five centuries.

“However, Moeen recently hinted that he would come out of retirement from Tests to play for Stokes. Also, I don’t think modern spinners are as drawn toward Test cricket, because it’s hard work. Being a spinner in Tests is really, really hard on the fingers, on the body, on the mind, and it doesn’t pay as well as the short fix in four overs. The IPL contracts, Hundred contracts, pay very well for half the work.”

“As teams become more attacking, the passion for Tests is being rekindled. England is playing an exciting brand of cricket. I hope that Baz McCullum’s ethos will rub off on the Indian team and other teams around the world. It’s a way to get the crowds back in.”

“I think India under (coach) Dravid will play a more traditional form of Tests than England. Last year this time, India was a far better Test team than England was. But it will be exciting if more teams can change the personnel and the mindset like England has. It will be good for Tests. India does have a top-order issue if Rohit Sharma is not there, but you’ve got Cheteshwar Pujara who can open. The real problem is with England. Their openers can’t get any runs.”

Graeme Swann, the former England off-spinner has backed Cheteshwar Pujara to potentially replace opener skipper Rohit Sharma for the Birmingham Test between India and England commencing July 1. He believes the Saurashtra batter could replace Rohit Sharma if he doesn’t recover from COVID-19 in time for the rescheduled Test.