England missing Graeme Swann: Alan Lamb

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 10:35 IST | Ayan Roy |

Former England skipper Alan Lamb doesn’t think very highly of the 'bits and pieces' spinners the English team has and feels they are missing the services of Graeme Swann

Alan Lamb
Alan Lamb

Former England skipper Alan Lamb doesn’t think very highly of the spinners the English team has in its squad.

According to the 62-year former middle-order batsman, “They don’t have any class spinner. They have bits and pieces spinners. While (Adil) Rashid hasn’t bowled long enough and is just starting off, Moeen Ali is a part-timer and why they have brought Gareth Batty beats me,” he said.

“England is missing Graeme Swann,” he opined.

Off-spinner Swann took 20 wickets during the 2012 Test series in India and his partner-in-crime left-arm tweaker Monty Panesar claimed 17 scalps to ensure the visitors came from behind to win the series 2-1.

Well, the English may be back in India. But this time around they don’t have match-winning spinners in their squad.

Point out that Wankhede has been a lucky hunting ground for the British. The last time they played here, Swann and Panesar shared 19 wickets and Kevin Pietersen played one of his greatest innings for England, scoring a splendid 186 to see England thrash India by 10 wickets inside four days.

But Lamb doesn’t see that feat being repeated this time around. “India are stronger now. Also it was humid then and the ball swung around. That won’t happen this time so India are the favoured side.”

He believes England have to score over 450 in the first innings if they win the toss to have any chance of winning.

Talking about the idea of doing away with the toss to counter the home advantage, Lamb expresses his reservations about it. “In England, wickets during May and June see the ball swinging. Home advantage isn’t bad. It’s good for the game.”

England captain Alastair Cook has scored 246 from six innings at an average of 41.00 – he has scores of 21,130, 2, 54, 27, 12. A quiet series by the skipper’s standards. Cook though scored his 30th ton in the Rajkot Test.

This set a unique record. This was Cook’s fifth Test hundred against India and interestingly, all of them have come in India. He’s got over 1800 runs against India in 21 matches – 37 innings – at an average of over 56. Cook also has the most hundred by any visiting player in India and gone past the likes of Everton Weekes, Clive Lloyd and Hashim Amla -- all of whom have four.

Lamb believes that if Cook keeps on playing like he is he will surely get close to Sachin Tendulkar’s records, if not past.

On the topic of Tendulkar, Lamb gets nostalgic and recollects how it was his dropped catch at slip off Devon Malcolm that let off the ‘Little Maestro’ and SRT got to his first international Test hundred at Old Trafford in August 1990. The first of 100. And Lamb wants to remind Sachin that ‘he owes him.”

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