Monty Panesar opens up on how England face spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the forthcoming 4 match Test series will be deciding factor and spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will be missed. The Indian team will not have much time to soak in the euphoria around their stupendous show in Australia as their next assignment which is a four-Test series against England at home is just round the corner.
England arrived in Chennai on Wednesday for the first two Tests of the series after registering a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka. More importantly, England will take heart from the fact that they were the last international side to have won a Test series in India vide a 2-1 result back in 2012-13.
Monty Panesar : England Will Get A Lot Of Confidence If The Team Win A Test At Chennai
Monty Panesar, who took 17 wickets in that series at an average of 26.82, believes that the opening two Tests in Chennai will set the tone for the series.
“If they manage to win a game in Chennai — they will get a lot of confidence for the rest of the series. I expect England to put in a good fight against a strong Indian side,” Panesar told TOI.
Monty Panesar, who featured in 50 Tests, 26 ODIs and a lone T20 for England, feels the English spin duo of Dom Bess and Jack Leach shouldn’t put undue pressure on themselves while bowling to the vaunted Indian batting line-up consisting of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
“In India, bowlers need to have an in-and-out field. You should have fielders at close-in positions as well as in the deep. You have to keep mixing things up and cut down the scoring opportunities for the Indian batsmen which will make them take risks. That’s where England bowlers have a chance,” the 38-year-old mentioned.
The Ravichandran Ashwin factor will be crucial in the series, according to Monty Panesar.
“Ashwin had a great tour of Australia and will come into the series with tons of confidence. How England play Ashwin will decide the outcome of the series. Ashwin has become smarter with the way he has bowled in recent times and is in prime form,” Monty said.
Monty Panesar feels the absence of Ravindra Jadeja could prove to be a weak link in the Indian ranks.
“Jadeja will be missed. The second spinner will be crucial for India as Ashwin will need support from the other end to put England under pressure. They have named Axar Patel in the squad but I do believe that Jadeja adds a different dimension to the Indian team,” he said.
Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja suffered injuries to add to India’s woes in bowling as India were struggling to field an XI at Brisbane and fielded an inexperienced bowling attack in 4th Test. Ravichandran Ashwin picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests while Ravindra Jadeja picked 7 wickets in only 2 Tests that he played. Uncapped Axar Patel who played 38 ODIs and 11 T20Is have been named in first 2 Tests.
Monty Panesar : Joe Root Will Have To Bat Well And Bat For Long Periods Of Time If England Have To Win The Series
The opening Test will mark an important milestone for Joe Root. The English skipper will be playing his 100th game in the opening Test at Chepauk from February 5.
“If England are to have a chance of winning this series, Root will have to bat well. He needs to bat for long periods of time just like Alastair Cook did during the 2012-13 series. He has been brilliant in Sri Lanka and I do hope Root continues batting in the same way against India,” he said.
Joe Root amassed 426 runs in four innings at an average of 106.50 including two centuries with a high score of 228. Root currently has 8249 runs in 181 innings at an average of 49.39. He is only behind Alastair Cook (12472), Graham Gooch (8900) and Alec Stewert (8463) in England’s all-time run-scorers’ list.