The opening test will take place at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai from February 5. Chennai will also host the second test, which begins on February 13. The last time Chennai hosted a test match was in 2016 when India beat Alastair Cook – led the England team by one end and 75 points.
A total of 60 tests were played between India and England in India. India won 19 times, England emerged victorious 13 times, while 28 tests resulted in draws.
India and England met in 9 test matches in Chennai. India have recorded five wins and England three at this point. The test match in 1982 ended in a draw.
The last time England won a series of tests in India was in 2012-13 when the team led by Cook won the series 2-1.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar, who was part of that triumphant England side in 2012-13 and won 17 wickets in 3 tests against India, spoke to Timesofindia.com about India’s chances against England this times, key players from both teams, his best memory against India, which team has the top bowling attack and much more …
Would you say the series victory over Australia by a severely exhausted Indian team will be considered one of the greatest series wins of all time?
Yes I agree with you. This is probably the biggest win away from home. Coach Ravi Shastri should be recognized for this. How did Shastri manage to keep the boys in a positive frame of mind when they dated for 36 years (at Adelaide Test)? It’s his attitude, his approach of how to keep the team together, that has worked well for the team. He played a huge role in this regard. There is a lot of credit that goes to Shastri. I honestly think it starts with Sourav Ganguly. Because he knows how to raise talent. And there is so much to say about ex-cricketers in administrative roles. It made a huge difference. I am thinking of the appointment of Ganguly, coach Shastri, who has been with the team for so long. They really know how to bring talent to the team and make sure they’re up to the challenge.
India just picked up an inspiring victory against Australia. Some key players like Virat kohli, Ishant Sharma, Hardik Pandya are all back. Can India pull off a whitewash streak against England at home this time around?
I don’t think there will be any bleach, but I think India is the favorite to win the series because they play on their own terms. England have a strong seam attack. The stick will be their weakest point because you watch the openers keep coming out for the spinners. India will exploit that. Young English drummers are not as adaptable as Joe root. So I think India will be the favorite to win the series.
Your prediction for the series?
India will win the series. But I will be surprised if India beat England 4-0. For me it will be 2-1 or 2-0.
When it comes to English cricket, a lot of talk revolves around the next Ashes series that they are going to play. England coach Chris Silverwood also said India’s victory in Australia inspires them a lot so that they can beat Australia in their own den as well. Some like Graeme Swann said the team needs to focus on the Indian series before thinking about the ashes …
Well I think that’s a gap we have in the England squad. We know we’re not great spin players, but we are better players when the ball bounces above hip height. In Australia, it’s all about cutting, playing the sweater well. When they throw it in short and between the shoulder and the hip you have to shoot the ball, you can’t really sink into it. You have to be a good puller and a good cutter. These young players on the team are better at short-length fast bowling than at spin. Like Kevin Pietersen, he moved his feet, or he made room and hit the ball from outside the stumps and hit the ball in different areas. These players don’t beat like that. But if you tell them to beat fast bowling, they’re a lot more equipped for it. This is why England is preparing for the Ashes. And that’s why they implemented this rotation policy in the India series. They don’t mind if they lose the test series, as long as the players are exposed, put under pressure and learn more about themselves for the big series in Australia. Because I don’t think they will have a rotation policy (in Australia for the Ashes). When the first test match kicks off in Australia, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be playing. But in the first test match in India, I don’t think Anderson and Broad will play.
If you have to list three key players for England and three for India, who will they be and why?
I think the key players for England will be Joe Root, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. Joe knows how to beat in these conditions and he’s in great shape. He will have to imitate what Alistair Cook did in India. Joe needs to fight for a long time because only then can he prepare for the game for England against India. Plus, in sewing conditions, Broad and Anderson can do wonders. Anderson never plays stumps. He always plays 4 or 5 feet from a drummer. He wants you to chase him, then he brings him back to trap an LBW drummer. If Indian drummers can actually conquer this line, Anderson and Broad will both wrestle.
For India, it will be Ajinkya Rahane. His talents as a hitter, captain and leadership impressed me a lot. Second, Pujara. He is able to take the pressure. I think Ashwin will be a key player for India on the show. He can take counters at the counter and around the counter. He has different variations and he is a very astute cricketer. I remember him saying, “Spin bowling is like an app, you have to keep updating every six months.” And, it does that and keeps updating. I love how he has become an amazing spinner.
I would also take the name of Japrit Bumrah. With his fast bowling, he can do wonders. We cannot forget Virat Kohli. With the intensity, the emotion he brings, he takes a game away. He probably wants to take India to the next level. He wants to be known. He wants to rub shoulders with people like Steve Waugh, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd. This is the range he wants to be in. When it comes to captain of the world, you say Steve Waugh was one of the greatest, Clive Lloyd was a great captain, Nasser Hussain was for England. He didn’t have a great team, but he was an incredible captain. If he had had a great team I’m sure he would have had a great track record. And then you have the likes of Virat Kohli. They are great leaders. Michael Vaughan and Mike Brearly are the other great captains on the list. This is how Virat Kohli wants us to be remembered. He wants him to be remembered as one of the great captains of the game, the great cricket mastermind of the game as well as one of the great batsmen.
The top three contenders for the final of the World Trials are India, Australia and New Zealand. Do you think England have an outside chance of qualifying for the final? It will be played at Lord’s …
It is going to be difficult. It has nothing to do with the location. Chennai is a wicket of red earth, where it spins, it bounces. And even if our spinners are doing well and we have a good day with the bat, then that’s another thing. I’m still talking about the top six. Ben Stokes hasn’t really played a test match (for a while. Stokes last played a test in August 2020 against Pakistan). India could catch up with him at the start of the first two test matches. That’s all India needs to do in the first two tests. If it was a green wicket in May and India played two test matches on a green wicket in May, you would say England will win both test matches. (This time) I think India would win both test matches (in Chennai).
Ben Stokes started out as a versatile fast bowler. He evolved as the first versatile player in world cricket. His staff have improved by leaps and bounds. Entering the series, will Stokes be the first box office India targets?
Joe Root. The root will be the key window India will target, not Ben Stokes. Stokes can maybe in one session change the game but then he can get out very quickly. Root can fight all day. And it’s a matter of beating all day to establish the total. England have to beat at least 100 to 120 overs to enter the game. If they are eliminated, say in 60 to 70 overs or even less, it is game over for England. India will benefit from this. Who beats, who is able to beat the longest? When we won in 2012 Alastair Cook was able to beat all day and Pietersen scored very quickly. And that will be the perfect scenario where Ben Stokes can score quickly and Joe Root can beat all day. It will be England’s perfect scenario and India’s nightmare.
Who has a superior fast bowling attack – India or England and why?
India has a superior fast bowling attack. Because they are able to move the ball more. Mohammed Siraj moved the ball more in Australia than the Australian bowlers. I will be surprised if Anderson is able to move the ball more than Indian bowlers. Siraj was starting to move, as were Bumrah and Natarajan. I think India’s fast bowling department can move the ball more in the air and off the field than England’s fast bowlers.
Do you think Rishabh Pant will be the premier wicket keeper now after his exploits with the bat in Australia?
The pants are definitely the number one keeper. He follows in the footsteps of MS Dhoni. So he must continue in this vein. He will have to continue with this hunger, the desire to continue to improve. Virat Kohli being extremely fit and the intensity he brings. He’s the kind of player who will encourage Pant to keep improving and saying to himself (to himself), “I did really well, but my desire is still there to be successful. better’. This Indian team should never be satisfied. After Australia we are the next team that people want to talk about in the cricket world in 10 years ”.
Your best memories of playing against India …
Probably Mumbai (2012 test), when I brought out Virat Kohli in this round. I took out Tendulkar, I brought out Sehwag, I brought out Yuvraj. It was a good day for me.