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Updated January 15th, 2024 at 15:35 IST

Nasser Hussain's mind games or honest help? Ex-ENG captain advices India against successful strategy

Former captain Nasser Hussain has advised India against preparing pitches which spin a lot in their five-match Test series against England starting on January 25, saying doing so will bring the visiting spinners into the game also.

Reported by: Press Trust Of India
Former English captain Nasser Hussain and Indian team players celebrate after a wicket
Former English captain Nasser Hussain and Indian team players celebrate after a wicket | Image:AP
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London, Jan 15 (PTI) Former captain Nasser Hussain has advised India against preparing pitches which spin a lot in their five-match Test series against England starting on January 25, saying doing so will bring the visiting spinners into the game also.

The uncapped duo of Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir have been named as part of England's quadruple spin attack alongside Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed.

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India have also named four spinners in their squad for the first two Tests with Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav returning to action after missing the tour to South Africa, and will be joined by Ravichandran Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

"I think what India should do is ask for good pitches that spin a bit because I think their spinners and batters will then out-bat and out-spin ours," said Hussain on the Sky Sports Cricket podcast.

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"If they ask for pitches that spin a lot then it becomes a bit of a lottery and brings England's spinners into the game. The way Bazball goes about its business, they won't die wondering." England last won a Test series in India in 2012-13 under the captaincy of Alastair Cook where spin twins Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar starred in the momentous 2-1 triumph.

Hussain also said that Indian fans are waiting to see how their side can put England's Bazball strategy to bed.

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"There's been a lot of talk about Indian cricket and there's been a lot of talk about Bazball," said Hussain.

"My sense in the World Cup was that a lot of Indian fans are waiting to see how to put Bazball to bed." England opener Ben Duckett, however, said he is aware India's seam bowlers can do just as much damage as their spinners.

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"People talk about how good India's spin bowling is but at the top of the order against the seam attack, it's going to be tough no matter how flat the pitches are," Duckett, who has been named in the 16-member touring squad, said.

"I've obviously just played against, in my eyes, the best seam attack in the world this summer. I think the preparation in Abu Dhabi will be focused around facing the new-ball spin.

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"It's going to be interesting, I don't think I'll get out blocking as many times as I did when I was last there." Duckett made his Test debut in 2016 against Bangladesh. Since then, the 29-year-old is known for playing a variation of sweep shots.

"I've played a lot of cricket since then and maturity is a big one for me in those years," Duckett said.

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"The biggest thing this time around is that whatever India throw at me, it's not going to be a shock. I've played on those kinds of pitches. I know full well what to expect when I get out there." Talking about India's spin stalwart Ashwin, he said, "I wasn't the last left-hander to struggle out there in those conditions against Ashwin. He's so good everywhere.

"I'm sure he's going to get me out again, he's a world-class bowler. But I would back myself now on a good pitch or a flatter pitch to not feel like I have to play aggressive shots or sweep every ball.

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"If those pitches are spinning, and with the way this team have played over the last 18 months, I know what my strengths are and I'm certainly not going to die wondering." PTI PDS AM PDS AM AM

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Published January 15th, 2024 at 15:35 IST

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