England’s success on their upcoming tour of India is going to come down to one thing: how well they play India’s spinners.
India off-spinner R Ashwin’s consistent excellence at home has found an able partner in Ravindra Jadeja and even though the left-arm spinner will be missing this time around, India have plenty of other classy performers who will keep the pressure on England.
Joe Root has played the sweep shot to great effect in Sri Lanka but the rest of the batting line-up hasn’t looked quite as adept against spin and that is an area that India will be looking to target too.
On Saturday, former England captain Kevin Pietersen shared a few tips, given to him by Rahul Dravid, on how to go about playing quality spin bowling.
Sharing the email sent to him by the Indian batting great in 2017, Pietersen urged the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to give it to the struggling duo of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley.
England openers Sibley and Crawley, who have been named in the squad for the upcoming Test series in India, have been struggling against left-arm Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who took their wickets in both the first and second Test of the ongoing series.
Among the many points that Dravid makes, there are two that stand out.
One, “in the nets try and pick up the length from the bowler’s hand, that will force you to watch it closely. Look to go forward but recognise that a lot of the scoring opportunities are off the back foot, so while you’re looking to go forward you are not committing, the key word is looking, you are ready to rock back and pick up some runs if you can.”
Two, “One good practice is to bat against Swann and Monty without pads or with just the knee pads [maybe not a day before a game]. When you have no pads, it will force you, sometimes painfully, to get the bat forward of the pads and will force you to watch the ball. Also, the leg will be less keen to push out without any protection. My coach would tell me you should never need pads to play spin!!”
Read Dravid’s full email to Pietersen below: