Former England cricketer Monty Panesar has predicted Team India to clean sweep England in the upcoming five-match Test series starting August 4. Virat Kohli and his men will leave for the UK on June 2 to play the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand before they lock horns with the Three Tigers.
Both teams locked horns earlier this year in India. The hosts bounced back from 0-1 down to win the four-match series 3-1 to confirm their berth in the World Test Championship final. However, India don’t enjoy a good record in England having their last series win on English soil way back in 2007.
India can beat England 5-0 – Monty Panesar
However, Monty Panesar, the former England spinner, believes that Indian spinners can exploit England’s spin weakness and if the surfaces offer them some assistance, the visiting team might end up clean sweeping the hosts. Both teams will be playing at Trent Bridge from August 4th onwards, which will be followed by encounters at Lord’s (August 12-16), Headingley (August 25-29), the Oval (September 2-6), and Old Trafford (September 10-14). Panesar reckons that the warm weather conditions in August make the case for the spinners strong.
“I think India is going through their best time. When the weather is warm in August, they can even play with two spinners in English conditions. The current Indian team has the potential to defeat England 5-0. After Alastair Cook’s retirement, the English top-order hasn’t looked reliable. If India managed to register a clean sweep, it’ll be their greatest overseas series win,” said Panesar said to India TV.
“Spinners will also play a crucial role in the WTC final in Southampton. We’ll have to see how the ICC prepares the pitch for the event. For the Test series, England will obviously go with a green wicket. But for the WTC final, I think the ICC should prepare a neutral wicket. It’ll be the perfect advertisement for the WTC if the final spans over 4 or 5 days,” he further said.
Monty Panesar further named Ravindra Jadeja as his ‘X-factor’ in the Test series, considering the all-rounder’s recent form in the IPL.
“For me, Ravindra Jadeja will be the X-factor. He’s been in terrific form in the IPL. If India decides to go with just one spinner, I’ll go with Jadeja instead of R Ashwin as the spin-bowling option. Jadeja’s defensive bowling skill and being a left-armer give him an upper hand,” said Panesar.