Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain Credits: Twitter

Former cricketer Nasser Hussain has explained the reason behind England’s decision to adopt a spin-heavy strategy for the ongoing first Test against India. The highly-anticipated five-match Test series between India and England got underway on Thursday (January 25) at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad.

The visitors have named as many as three frontline spinners in their playing eleven while including one frontline pacer. Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed and uncapped Tom Hartley are the three spinners while Mark Wood is the sole specialist fast-bowler in the playing eleven. Of the three spinners, only Leach has played a Test in India while Rehan has played only 1 Test so far.

With conditions in India suiting spinners, England’s decision to include three spinners in their lineup has not surprised many. However, Nasser Hussain is not very impressed with the call. Speaking before the series-opener, the former England captain explained that inexperience might have forced England to name three spinners in their playing XI.

“You look at other countries that try to hit India with spin historically. Shane Warne didn’t get that many wickets and that much success in India, be it against the Fab Five or a different Indian batting lineup,” Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports.

“I would like a more balanced bowling attack, but I guess with Rehan Ahmed’s second Test match… (he has) hardly debuted. Leach is not bowling for a long time, they just feel they need three because looking at that surface… it’s going to turn.

“Inexperience has led to the four spinners option as well. You’ve got Leach, who hasn’t bowled since June-July. You’ve got the two inexperienced lads in Hartley and Rehan Ahmed, and you’ve got Joe Root. You think if it would’ve been Swann or Panesar as an example, you could’ve gone with a more balanced side,” he added.

Nasser Hussain on England leaving out James Anderson:

Speaking further, Nasser Hussain also spoke about England’s decision to leave out veteran James Anderson. The former cricketer-turned-commentator stated that the ploy could backfire if England lose the toss and are asked to bowl first.

“One seamer, if you lose the toss, say tomorrow, and it’s not doing that much, and you’re starting with spin, you’re leaving out one of our greatest ever cricketers in Jimmy Anderson, arguably, our greatest ever bowlers in my eyes who has a pretty good record in this subcontinent,” said Hussain.

Meanwhile, England won the toss and opted to bat first. At the time of writing this report, the visitors were on 31 for no loss. England are eyeing their first series win in India since the 2012/13 season.