Quit Aus obsession, beating India in India more important: Swann to Eng
London, Jan 22 (IANS) Australia are no more the best team in the world and what England should be focusing at is to beat India in India as they have been “virtually unbeatable” at home since 2012, feels former England off-spinner Graeme Swann.
England will be taking on India in a four-Test series beginning February 5, followed by five T20Is and three ODIs. The Virat Kohli-led side would be high on confidence following their recent memorable Test series win over Australia in their own backyard.
According to Swann, beating India in India would now be a higher achievement than winning Ashes series away considering the performances of Team India in recent times.
“England always saying ‘well the Ashes are coming up’. B***ocks to that. If you want to be the best team in the world, let’s be the best team all over the planet, not just trying to beat Australia away. We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. It’s a mentality ingrained in this country. Australia are not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles, and they were the benchmark to strive for,” Swann told The Sun.
“They’re not now, but we’re obsessed with this. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They’re virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn’t that the whole thing? Why aren’t people saying ‘right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India’,” he added.
Swann, who was one of the key performers in England’s series win in India in 2012, believes the Joe Root-led side needs to have the right setup to overcome the spin challenge.
In 2012, Swann picked up 20 wickets while Monty Panesar bagged 17. Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook scored 562 and 338 runs as England registered a 2-1 series win.
“We’re not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets, and then we’ve got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen. He changed the way England had ever played against spin. He was ultra-aggressive. Let’s face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there,” said Swann.
“We haven’t done it since, we haven’t learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven’t gone on and used that as the blueprint,” he added.