CHENNAI: The last time India toured England, MS Dhoni’s team lost all four Test matches. But Aussie pace legend Glenn McGrath believes the new-look team will perform better than the one in 2011.
“India are a good side. If they begin well and relish the challenge, then they have a good chance to do well,” said McGrath, who is here at MRF Pace Foundation. In the times of Vinoo Mankad and BS Chandrasekar, Indian spinners played a vital role in England. But with six seamers and a slow-medium bowling all-rounder in the squad of 18, Dhoni must be tempted to draw his strategy around them.
“It all depends upon what kind of wickets England prepare. Last time around when Australia toured, they prepared slow turning tracks. So playing a fast bowling-centric attack depends upon the pitch,” said McGrath.
India seamers Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey are sweating it out at the nets at the MRF Pace Foundation to get valuable tips from McGrath, also known as Pigeon. “Both are good and have really improved from the time I first saw them. If given an opportunity at the beginning of the series, both have the capability to do well,” said McGrath.
“My message is go and relish the challenge. It is all about bowling a fuller length and getting the ball to swing Apart from that, we will be working on minor technical adjustments to switch over from T20 format to Test cricket. Rest of the stuff is routine, but mental toughness is important,” he added.
When pointed that England were a weak side without the likes of Kevin Pietersen, the legend said, “KP may not be there, but there are still some pretty good players around, so one cannot take England lightly.”
In 2011, Indian batting was a failure with the exception of Rahul Dravid. Apart from him, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have also retired. So who will be the key for India’s batting?
“It is important for bowlers to have runs on the board to defend. Without runs, however packed a team may be with fast bowlers, it may not produce results. I believe Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are quality players and have the ability to play long innings,” opined McGrath.