Kumble sees Indian spinners playing ‘a major role’ in England Test series
When India travel to England for a five-Test series in August-September this year, it will be their 18th tour of the country, and fifth in the new millennium. In these, India have won only six Tests, three of them coming in the last four series. Two of the last four series have gone England’s way – including 3-1 the last time in 2014 – with one drawn and India winning 1-0 in 2007.
Despite that history, Anil Kumble feels India have a great chance of winning their fourth series in England after 1971, 1986 and 2007, when Virat Kohli’s boys, the No.1 Test team in the world, take the field this time.
“I feel we possess a good all-round unit. We have a strong bowling group, which can pick 20 wickets consistently. If you look at the batting line-up, we possess a lot of experience,” said Kumble, who was a part of the 2007 team.
“On an average, the number of Test matches played by our batsmen stands at about 50. Also, the experience of having toured there before will definitely help as they will be aware of the conditions.”
Kumble himself had a tough time in his 10 Tests in the country, picking up 36 wickets at 41.41. But, having played for Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Surrey, the former India coach and captain pointed to the conditions around England in the second half of the summer as the big reason for his optimism.
“Spinners will definitely play a major role on this tour of England,” he said. “In the second half of the summer, we do know that the wickets will be more suitable for them. There will be wear and tear on the wickets, and spinners will come into play much earlier than in the first half.
“Conditions in the first half – in the months of May and June – are more challenging (for spinners) in England because of the rain and dampness.”
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, No.3 and No.5 in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings for bowlers respectively, are expected to be India’s main spin men, with Kuldeep Yadav, most likely, being the third frontline option.
The Test series starts at Edgbaston on 1 August before travelling to Lord’s, Trent Bridge, the Rose Bowl and The Oval.