Ex-Lancashire and England fast bowler, Paul Allott, told Lancashire CCC that England’s challenge during their five Test match series against India will revolve around spin bowling.
Allott said, “The Indians were only too well aware that England are not the best players of spin bowling, not the best bowlers of spin bowling, and [England] are only too well aware that it is India’s great strength.
“The pitches that England will play on over the coming six or eight weeks will probably take spin from ball one.”
Allott noted that the results will rely heavily on how the English batsmen come to terms with the top ranked Test Match side’s spin bowling attack.
“That last Test Match in Dhaka will have left a bit of a scar, there’s no question about that,” he added.
The 108 run loss to Bangladesh has left English confidence dented, which is in direct contrast to the home side who are in buoyant spirts after defeating New Zealand in October.
There is a possibility Haseeb Hameed, Lancashire’s rising star from Bolton, could make his international debut after a stellar County Championship season earned him an England call up.
However, Allott said, “Bringing individuals into the side will be a challenge because they haven’t had an opportunity to bat in the middle in a meaningful game.
“There is nothing like being out in the middle and spending time in the middle,” he added.
Allott also said that challenges will be posed to England’s spin bowling attack.
He said, “There’s only one real specialist spin bowler and that’s Gareth Batty.
“Rashid is very much in his formative years. You tend to get the feeling he is uncomfortable bowling in Test Match situations when the pressure is on him, and the pressure will be on him from ball one in India.
“He’ll have to bowl with men round the bat which he doesn’t like and he’ll have to try to temper his desire for experimentation.”
With Allott believing consistency isn’t the Yorkshire leg-break bowler’s strength, he backs England to select Gareth Batty to fill the experience gap.
On Surrey’s Zafar Ansari, Allott said, “he’s an all-rounder, he’s not the best left-arm spinner in the country, but he may get a chance.”
England’s preferred front line option in the longer form of the game in recent years has been Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali.
Allott said, “Moeen has done brilliant for England as both a batsman and a bowler, you wouldn’t call him a front line spinner, but that’s the role he has to fulfil with England.”
England may choose to play three spin bowlers as they did against Bangladesh in the two Test Match series in October.
James Anderson will join the squad on Tuesday after recovering from a shoulder injury, strengthening England’s seam bowling attack.
Although unlikely to play in the first test, he is hopeful of reinstating his opening bowling role at some point during the five match series.
The first Test against India starts Wednesday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, at 04:00 GMT.
Follow the match with our new Match Centre http://www.lccc.co.uk/cricket/match-centre/india-v-england-first-test-match-rajkot/