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Graeme Swann Nurtures England’s Spin Talents Amidst Indian Challenge
By CricShots - Jan 8, 2024 4:22 pm
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As England gears up for a challenging five-match Test series in India, former spinner Graeme Swann has taken on the role of mentor for the English spinners, helping them prepare for the demanding tour set to commence on January 25 with the first Test in Hyderabad. The England cricket team has historically faced significant challenges when confronted with rank turners, yet they were the last team to triumph over India in a Test series on Indian soil.

team india
The Indian team

This remarkable achievement occurred in 2012, under the captaincy of Alastair Cook, who also earned the Player of the Series accolade. Graeme Swann played a pivotal role in the historic 2012-13 Antony de Mello trophy, where England scripted history by defeating India in a Test series on their home turf.

Swann, alongside Monty Panesar, claimed 20 wickets, contributing significantly to England’s 2-1 triumph in the four-match series. Recognized as one of England’s finest spinners of the last decade, Swann is now actively collaborating with the current spinners in the English squad as they prepare for the upcoming Test series against India.

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Swann has identified England’s uncapped spinner, Tom Hartley, as a promising talent with the potential to emulate Indian spin all-rounder Axar Patel. Swann believes that Hartley possesses the attributes needed to be a key factor for England in the series against India.

Reflecting on Hartley’s abilities, Graeme Swann stated, “When I saw Tom in Sri Lanka last winter, he’d barely played any red-ball cricket, but he’s got control and sometimes in India you don’t have to be the biggest turner of the ball. You have to be an Axar Patel-type bowler, able to run up, be metronomic, put it on the spot, get a little bit of rotation on the ball, and let the pitch do the work.”

graeme Swann
Graeme Swann

Acknowledging the threat posed by wrist spinner Rehan Ahmed, Swann emphasized the importance of Ahmed building confidence to optimize his performance in the series.

Graeme Swann explained, “He’s a young leggie and on his day he will get you five wickets. We have seen how good he can be already. There will be days when it might not come out quite right and he’ll be expensive, but he will always come out smelling of roses because he’s a brilliant character. He’s got a bit of swagger about him, and I love that. I want him to start believing in himself more as a bowler.”

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The English squad for the India tour includes four spinners: Rehan Ahmed, Jack Leach, Tom Hartley, and Shoaib Bashir. Additionally, Joe Root provides a part-time off-break bowling option, currently holding the No. 6 position among Test cricket’s all-rounders.

The series against India will see matches played in Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala. The Indian team for the Test series against England is yet to be announced, likely to mirror the squad from the recent tour of South Africa where India made history by becoming the first Asian team to win a Test match in Cape Town, resulting in a drawn series.