Monty Panesar believes England don’t have the batting prowess to win on the spin-favoring pitches in India. According to the former English spinner, Joe Root will be the key for the visitors as the rest of the top-order batsmen are largely untested against spin.
England, who are currently playing a two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, will next travel to India for a long tour. Before locking horns with the hosts in the white-ball format, the Three Lions will play four Tests, the first of which starts on February 5th in Chennai.
The visitors are applying an innovative rotation policy to manage the workload of the cricketers. As a result, every player will miss out on at least some games in the series.
In an exclusive interaction with Indranil Basu on SK Live, Monty Panesar pointed out Jonny Bairstow‘s absence and Dominic Sibley‘s poor form against Sri Lanka as some of the major concerns for England ahead of their India tour.
” It’s alien conditions because the ball turns aggressive in Chennai. And for me, I think England don’t really have the batting to play on a turning pitch. That is England’s biggest weakness. Jonny Bairstow is rested, who is a better player of spin than some of the other batsmen. I think they should have rested someone else. Dominic Sibley is leaving the ball on the turning pitch (in Galle), he’s not really sure if it’s turning or not, his foot movements don’t really look like he can adapt on turning pitches,” said Monty Panesar.
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The 38-year-old further explained:
“In India, it’s all about batting for 100-120 overs in the first innings. If you can do that you are in the game. But if they can get Joe Root out early, then India will win the game.”
In six Tests in India, Joe Root has scored over 500 runs at an average of 53. He has also scored one hundred, which came in the first Test of England’s last tour of India in 2016. Although that Test ended in a draw, England went on to lose the five-match series 4-0.
Alongside the strong core of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, England have some fledgling but promising cricketers, such as opener Zak Crawley and middle-order batter Daniel Lawrence, in their ranks.
Monty Panesar analyzed England’s top-order and said that one of the youngsters will need to support Joe Root with some aggressive cricket.
“They are good against fast bowling. I think the left-right combination will work well. But they are still young players. If you look at that top 4, there’s only Joe Root and then you got Jos Buttler who goes back after the first Test. Ben Stokes comes back but he hasn’t (recently) played cricket and could be exposed to turning pitches straightaway. So, there’s a huge onus on Joe Root to bat well in one of the innings. And one of the younger batters needs to play fearless, attacking cricket,” said Monty Panesar.
While the first two Tests will be played in Chennai, the remaining two matches of the series are scheduled for Ahemdabad.
TEAM – Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya (VC), KL Rahul, Hardik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 19, 2021