It's great to see West Indies back in England. They put their hand forward and said they'd be happy to tour. And it is kind of a perfect timing with what we see in the Black Lives Matter [movement] and other things. It's going to be a really good series and I think a lot of people will be watching it. The England players are going to have the names of some key workers on the back of their shirts and West Indies have got the Black Lives Matter logo printed on their shirts as well. There'll be a huge audience watching the three Test matches.
I think the main thing that's going to be affected is the swing. England is such a unique place where you get overcast conditions, a bit of humidity in the air, and we don't really need to shine the ball - you still get it to swing. But on a hot day and a flat wicket, as a spinner, you want that ball to drift, which you can't [make it do] because you cannot shine it. So yes, it is going to pose some difficulties. But I think it is going to affect the seamers more than the spinners.
When I was young, I didn't really come across any such [treatment] because I was surrounded by people who just thought about cricket. But what the BLM movement has done is opened up dialogue amongst other groups as well. People ask, "Why aren't certain questions being answered for us?" BLM has raised issues and you begin to educate yourself, amongst many other things - it has raised topics in every culture now.
"Modern spinners also play T20 and one-day cricket, where you need to bowl into the pitch. But in Test cricket, you have to bowl in a more traditional way, with a certain shape on the ball and you need to spin it as well"
I hope he only wants to bowl like me, and not bat and field like me! But I think he's an exciting prospect. At 21, he seems really mature. He's only played 23 [first-class] games and taken just over 50 wickets, so he's still got a lot more experience to gain. He's still young and this is probably the best time for him to play, as we have two Tests [against West Indies] at Old Trafford.
Spinners these days have to switch [between formats], so it is difficult to find genuine Test match spin bowlers. In T20 and one-day cricket, you only need to bowl into the pitch. But in Test cricket, you have to bowl in a more traditional way, with a certain shape on the ball and [you need to] spin it as well. When you look at the likes of Amar Virdi, you realise that he's probably the most traditional spinner amongst all of them. Even Dom Bess plays in all forms [of the game] and he bats really well. He's worked with Rangana Herath to get some shape and his action back again.
The pitches are drier now and they're more used because there's so much of cricket on. So the ball does spin - at times, it spins even more than in India. So spinners play a huge role in county cricket and in all forms [of the game] and that's good to see. But I believe captains still need to learn how to use a spinner, especially in the first innings where they tend to go for seamers all the time.
I think they've come through the system. When Mushi bhai [Mushtaq Ahmed] was the spin-bowling coach of England, he went around the different county circuits and helped the coaches. The ECB's system to allow the Asian players to come through and understand the culture better also helped understand how we get the best out of a British Asian cricketer.
"Fitness videos on Twitter are one way of connecting and engaging with the fans. There's a fun way of doing it and it keeps myself fit as well"
I remember being very calm at the crease, not thinking that I am going to get out any moment. Jimmy Anderson told me, "If it's straight then protect your stumps, but if it's short then let it hit you." I recalled what Marcus Trescothick had told us at the time about playing spin bowling, some of which had stuck in my mind. He would always say that if the ball was turning or seaming, don't let the bat go after the ball - just hold the position and let it turn - and you're more likely not to snick it. But if you move your bat just a little bit, you might snick the ball. I remember some great deliveries by Nathan Hauritz but we just held our line and let it spin past our outside edges instead of chasing them.
They are world-class cricketers and bowling against them while holding my nerve was an amazing feeling. That's what it [international cricket] is all about - the crowd, bowling against great batsmen, and the intensity, and not just about the players. Most of the time, I am just looking for a compliment from these greats; you don't really think about getting them out.
I remember getting the first breakthrough [India's second wicket] through a fullish ball that hit [Virender] Sehwag's pads and then hit off stump. That was it - I needed my first wicket to get me going and also get an idea of the pitch. The pitch was suited for Swanny's and my pace, and we bowled quite quickly into the wicket and got it to turn more than the Indian spinners, who bowled slightly slower.
I hope so - that's one of my next goals actually. I'd love to make a comeback in county cricket and to see which counties are interested in me. I'm going to ask and see if there is an opportunity somewhere.
I'd love to get into coaching at some point. Talking about the experience with Australia, they had Nathan Lyon, who puts more revs on the ball and works hard on his stock delivery. Steve O'Keefe complemented Lyon really well and bowled beautifully, and on helpful pitches, he's probably a better bowler than Lyon. O'Keefe bowls [with] a slightly flatter trajectory while Lyon bowls slower, and poses more threat on pitches in Australia.
Fitness videos are one way of connecting and engaging with the fans. There's a fun way of doing it and it keeps myself fit as well. I've done that on the Monty Channel and put that on TikTok as well. That's one area where I try and stay active. And I try and get caught up a bit on some of the political channels as well - BBC London and LBC.
"Pubs are being reopened. I am a teetotaller, but I want to end with my friends on a Saturday in a pub somewhere while watching football"
I believe that the best remedy is talking - you need to talk about your feelings and thoughts and reach out to people as well. Sometimes it is difficult, because how many people can you reach out to? Maybe only your close friends. It's very sad when you hear these stories and you just hope that people can learn from each case.
I am just looking forward to going to a nice restaurant, having some food with my friends and my family, and catching up with them. Pubs are being reopened. I am a teetotaller, but I want to end with my friends on a Saturday in a pub somewhere while watching football. I am the designated driver among my friends. They say, "Monty, you join us and drop us home as well."
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo