November 19, 2008

England in India 2008-09

England accept power of spin

Jamie Alter
Monty Panesar has a bowl in the nets, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, September 26, 2007
 © AFP
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In today's Guardian, David Hopps says that England will accept the inevitability of India and choose a specialist spin bowler for the first time as they seek to recover from 2-0 down in the seven-match series. Though England have opted for Graeme Swann's offspin, don't be surprised if Monty Panesar gets called over to India, says Hopps.

The belated realisation that England cannot prosper in India without a specialist spin bowler begs the question about what is actually taught on the History GCSE syllabus. And if history makes no impact, then you might wish to consider current affairs instead: in the last Test played in Kanpur, against South Africa in April, India prepared the pitch to favour spin, then saw their spinners take 14 wickets in the match. Harbhajan Singh even took the new ball in the second innings.

Panesar, who flies out to India this week with the England Performance Squad, purportedly to prepare for the Test series, is England's finest spinner for a generation yet has been overlooked for the one-day squad in the belief that he should be regarded as a Test specialist. The irony is that he has been sounded out to play Twenty20 in the Indian Premier League.

L Sivaramakrishnan, in the Hindu, feels India's captain has taken his chances and come out successful. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is quick to think on his feet, feels the writer, giving his team an edge.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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