London: Graeme Swann, the former spinner, said that England have been playing ultra-positive cricket at the moment, so the hosts will go into the rescheduled 5th Test against India as slight favourites, starting at Edgbaston on July 1.
The changing of the guard of the England cricket team has proved nothing less than a miracle. England got a thrashing from arch-rival Australia 4-0 in the Ashes, then faced a further debacle in the Caribbean and lost the series 1-0 early this year.
Cricket bosses of England (ECB) decided to appoint a new captain and coach to improve the performance of the team in the longest format of the game. Ben Stoke took over from Joe Root and Brendon McCullum was named England’s Test coach in place of Silverwood.
The combination of Stoke and McCullum really made the team a worldbeater in a short span of time. England’s mindset shifted dramatically as they played a completely different brand of cricket against the Blackcaps in the recently concluded series. Credit should be given to McCullum, who himself used to play the attacking mode of cricket in his playing days.
England whitewashed New Zealand 3-0. What a turnaround during the guidance of McCullum and the leadership of Stoke. In spite of being down the barrel in all the three Tests, the three lions never drooped their shoulders and successfully chased down 275+ runs in as many games to leave the World Test Champions tattering.
Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, and others showed how to adopt an attack to put pressure on the opposition and never cared about the reputation of a bowler. The next assignment of England cricketers is against India at Edgbaston, where they have an opportunity to square the series, which is currently locked at 2-1 in favour of India. The one-off Test promises to be another thrilling encounter.
Former cricketer Swann believes England are back on track in Test cricket, with Joe Root in fine form and Ben Stokes galvanising a team that had won only two of their previous 17 matches prior to hosting New Zealand.
India is ready to challenge the hosts. It would be a daunting task for the English cricketer because India is a well balanced side. Not to mention a star-studded batting order, India is far too powerful to easily dismiss any opposition twice.
England hammered the Kiwis because they didn’t have quality spinners. But India’s spinners would be difficult for the Englishmen to handle. Anyhow, the upcoming Test starting on July 1 will be a seesaw encounter.