Team England is well aware of the fact that if they have to win their first Test series in India after nearly 30 years, they have to play spin well. Tackling spin bowling in sub-continent has been dominating all the talks in the build-up to the four-Test series between England and India beginning November 15
In a bid to tackle Indian spinners, England even traveled to Dubai for a three-day camp before arriving here. It can be recalled that former World No 1 England succumbed to Pakistan’s spin trio of Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez during their three-Test series in the UAE earlier this year. It was also evident that they play spin poorly when the Sri Lankans humbled them during the Galle Test in March this year.
However, England skipper Alastair Cook insisted that his side is confident of handling spin. “We have no problems facing spin. We have done our home work in the last 12 months. We know how hard we have to work for it,” Cook told the media after arriving in Mumbai yesterday.
“It’s a huge challenge as history suggests. It is so hard for an English side to win in the sub-continent. We are just desperate to use the conditions in these three (warm-up) games and change things around.
“Clearly history shows how hard it is (to win in India). That’s the sort of challenge we have ahead of us. Nowhere is it going to be easy; there are going to be really tough hurdles on the way. We have to overcome those challenges.
“As players we put ourselves in that situation as to what we want to do. If we want to be tested against the best in hard conditions then this tour is up there,” added the left-handed opener.
Cook, who made his Test debut in Nagpur in 2006, said learning spin is a gradual process. “(Graham) Gooch (former England captain and team batting coach) sent me here when I was 19. It’s a gradual process to play spin in the sub-continent. I have to pass my experience to younger players. I have a fairly decent record here as well. If we have to win the series all of us will have to stand up and score runs,” said Cook, who has scored 304 runs including a century (104 not out) and three fifties in four Tests.
Andy Flower, England team director and coach, said the Indian seamers would also play an important role in the Test series. “The focus is on spin, (but) they (India) have quality seamers also and they too can take wickets in these conditions,” said Flower.