Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has responded to Gautam Gambhir’s comments earlier this week. The ex-Indian opener said he would be surprised if England managed to win a single Test match during their tour of India.
The visitors’ front-line spin attack of Dom Bess and Jack Leach boasts just 24 Test caps between them. It caused Gambhir to suggest to Star Sports that he “couldn’t see England winning any of the Test matches with the kind of spin attack they’ve got.“
Speaking exclusively in his role as Betfair Ambassador, Graeme Swann disagreed with Gambhir’s view. He argued that the English side has more than enough firepower at their disposal to be competitive in the series, which kicks off in less than 48 hours with the first of two back-to-back Tests in Chennai.
“I’m not sure I agree with (Gambhir’s comments) so much. I think if England use their strongest aspects well enough; Jofra Archer’s shock tactic, Ben Stokes as a world-class all-rounder, Joe Root scoring as heavily as he can. If they can all perform alongside Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, then England can definitely win a Test match. The day/night Test match (Third Test in Ahmedabad) might be the one to really focus on.”
Betfair Ambassador @Swannyg66 discusses two brilliant Test wins – one for England in Galle and one for India in Brisbane – and what the rest of 2021 might look like for Joe Root’s Test side…
— Betfair Exchange (@BetfairExchange) January 20, 2021
Although he did not agree with Gambhir’s overall assessment, Graeme Swann did concede that India have reason to be in a buoyant mood going into the series.
“I’m not surprised that India are very confident. They are coming off the back of a big victory in Australia. I think this is going to be as tough a challenge as any in world cricket to be honest (for England).”
Also HUGE congratulations to @BCCI beating @cricketcomau in their own backyard. A stunning comeback after the capitulation at Adelaide and a triumph in the face of the various adversities of the last few weeks😁👏🏏
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) January 19, 2021
While Team India do welcome back captain Virat Kohli into their side to face England, they will be without key all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for at least the first two Tests of the series due to a thumb injury.
Asked how big a miss the 32-year-old would be for India, Graeme Swann did not hold back.
“I think it’s a huge miss for India to be honest. Jadeja is a wonderful bowler, a wonderful cricketer actually. One of the most underrated cricketers…He’s all over the place. Brilliant with the bat and the ball. Amazing in the field. I think it’s a huge loss for India.”
Graeme Swann does, though, feel that India have excellent ability elsewhere in their bowling attack.
“They (India) do have Ravichandran Ashwin at the other end who is – in his home conditions – simply untouchable, so we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out. But (for England) it’s a massive bonus that Jadeja is not fit.”
With mere days to go now until the start of the four-Test series, the talking is nearly done. Given that a place in the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand is up for grabs, expect the action to be fiercely contested.
England have not won a Test match in Chennai since 1985, but they will be keen to prove their doubters – including Gautam Gambhir – wrong. Their quest to back-up Graeme Swann’s comments begins on Friday morning.