Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced that the national team will sorely miss off-spinner Graeme Swann during the five-Test series against India.
Swann, who was England’s most successful off-spinner in history, retired from international cricket during the last Ashes series against Australia.
“Alastair Cook struggles to captain the side when opposition batters become established because he cannot toss the ball to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure,” Pietersen wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “Swann made Andrew Strauss’s captaincy look good and he made Cook’s look good too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition were threatening to take the game away. It was down to Swann’s genius, and not tactical masterstrokes.
“The Indians respect Swann hugely, they think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they are licking their lips about facing any other English spinner who bowls to them.”
Pietersen also noted that India will be encouraged by the fact that England’s pitches are no longer completely pace-friendly.
“Home advantage was lost when new drainage systems were installed at Test venues turning our pitches into sandpits,” Pietersen wrote. “They are horrendous. They give little to the seamers and when it spins, it does so slowly, negating the threat of the turning ball.
“The drainage was addressed with the best of intentions; to give the public as much cricket as possible by reducing the amount of overs lost to rain.
“It is good news for chief executives running grounds carrying the burden of heavy debts but in terms of the quality of cricket the public are seeing, it is not good enough…It is something that has really changed since India were beaten here 4-0 three years ago.”