'Got Alastair Cook out in both innings. Crazy not to play him': Swann ahead of Edgbaston Test; 'Should always get in XI'
While a three-pronged pace attack seems certain, with Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj set to play, the other two bowling options could make things a little tricky keeping the balance of the team in mind.
The rescheduled fifth Test between India and England is almost here and all eyes are on the playing XI the touring team will go ahead with. Rohit Sharma going down with Covid-19 has already made things a little dicey for India and as much as the team management is trying not to panic over the same, Mayank Agarwal's last-minute inclusion in the squad suggest otherwise. However, the quandary doesn't end there. While the likes of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant are almost certain, India could also be sweating over the bowling combination.
While a three-pronged pace attack seems certain, with Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj set to play, the other two bowling options could make things a little tricky keeping the balance of the team in mind. Should India play one spinner or choose both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to ensure their team bats deep is a mystery that will be solved on July 1. But as per former England spinner Graeme Swann, if it was up to him, he would go ahead with one between Jadeja and Ashwin.
"Because it's Edgbaston, I would prefer those who have played there before. Ashwin has played there and done well. It's a wicket that will suit his type of bowling. He has a good record there, getting Alastair Cook out bowled in both innings for 13 and 0 in 2018. I would play Ashwin in any Test that India play. Not only because for what he brings on the table with his bowling, but his batting as well. I think Ashwin should always get into the playing XI," Mid-Day quoted Swann as saying during a virtual press conference organised by Sony Sports Network, the broadcaster for India's tour of England.
Ashwin however did not feature in any of the four Tests that was played in England last year, even though he was part of the series, with all-rounder Jadeja getting the nod over him. Furthermore, what could also make Ashwin a doubtful starter is the fact that he has recently recovered from Covid-19. He missed the flight to England because of testing positive and even though the champion spinner did bowl in the warm-up against Leicestershire, the management may not risk playing him for the crucial series-deciding Edgbaston Test. Having said that, Swann reckons playing Ashwin is a no-brainer and that it would be a big mistake on India’s part of they leave him out.
"What a bowler he is. The professor of spin. He sometimes over-thinks it but he knows what he is doing and he knows exactly what he is going to do at Edgbaston. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a long bowl in the second innings. It has been a hot, dry and dusty summer. One thing that foreign teams sometimes do in England is overload their team with seam bowlers. It may swing, but I'm not expecting too much seam. The wicket will be geared towards the powerhouse English middle order batting. If Leach can get 10 at Headingley, India's spinners will enjoy Edgbaston. India will be crazy not to play Ashwin," Ashwin told Times of India.