As England get ready to face India in a five-Test series starting November 9, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the big clash. Here’s what some prominent names have been saying and discussing.
Graeme Swann (Former England spinner): We don't take spin seriously in this country, and then bemoan the fact that we haven't got world-class spinners when we go to the subcontinent. We've got a bloody good team with bloody good cricketers, but we will lose in India because of what has happened 20 years before. We are hamstrung by the fact that we treat spinners as third-class citizens. Me and Monty were freaks of nature, we grew up in Northants where the pitches used to rag square, but I moved to Nottinghamshire because I wanted to become a better bowler on non-turning pitches.”
Jonty Rhodes (Former South African international): It's going to be tough for England. Being in India for five Tests is going to be physically and mentally very demanding because you are in a situation where conditions are not comfortable to you and it puts you under a bit more pressure. If you are in a three Test series, you kind of can get in and get out but it is going to be tough in a five-match series.
Hardik Pandya (Indian all-rounder): For me, everything changed after my tour of Australia with the India A team. It is a tour that transformed me as a cricketer. I can't but thank Rahul Dravid enough for his contribution. I understood that there is a mental aspect about the game that needs to be worked upon. He (Dravid) made me mentally stronger. I don't think I have learnt more than what I did during those one and half months under Rahul sir. He would tell me about things that I need to try out. I was mentally strong but after interacting with him, I understood that I could get even better. If my bowling is being talked about today, it's because of Rahul sir and Paras Mhambrey (India A bowling coach)
Joe Root (England batsman): India pose a big threat, we’ve just got to make sure we prepare very well and try and prove a lot of people wrong that we can perform extremely well on this tour.
Trevor Bayliss (England head coach): It’s going to be difficult, that’s for sure. We’re going to have to play some very good cricket, but we’ve got that in us. We’ve shown in previous series; we’ve lost to Australia and South Africa and been able to come back and win. We’ve got to dig deep to play a very good team playing in their home conditions.
Matthew Hoggard (Ex-England fast bowler): It's going to be a very difficult tour for Alastair Cook’s side. We did very well in the subcontinent last time round and India will want payback. Add to that the conditions and our experience in Bangladesh and England are in for a stern test, particularly in terms of facing up to some high quality spin bowling, so we'll need to make significant improvements with both bat and ball. I fear England's struggles will continue.
Michael Vaughan (Former England captain): Ben Stokes has got that ability to get in the opposing team's faces with expertise. Many players have tried to wind up the opposition by being forceful and aggressive without having the game but, with Stokes, you just know, every time he goes to the crease, things are going to happen. I think the problem that Alastair will have is getting the ball out of his hands. He wants to bowl, he wants to compete.
--By A Cricket Correspondent