England recently cleared 2–0 in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. During this series, English spinners heavily harassed the Sri Lankan batsmen. Dom Bess and Jack Leach together took 22 wickets during the series. Bess took 12 wickets and Leitch had 10 wickets. Now England have to play a four-Test series against India from 5 February. Prior to this series, former Sri Lankan cricketer Mahela Jayawardene advised the English spinners to stay away from the Indian batsmen. Jayawardene told ‘Sky Sports’,’ I think it will be a very fun series. It will be a good challenge for these players. This is called cricket.
You have to go overseas and win the Test series. He said, “These two spinners (base and leech) may have gained a lot of experience here, but they will be a big challenge for them in India.” Jayawardene, however, believes that England is well prepared for the Indian series, especially in this series, he will get the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Joffra Archer. Both Stokes and Archer were rested in the Sri Lanka series. Jayawardene said, “The return of Ben Stokes will be the biggest advantage for England as they are experienced and they will have another left-handed batsman in their top order which will be important.” He said, ‘Jofra Archer can do something special with his fast, especially on slow wickets. Overall they are very well prepared.
Opener Rory Burns has also been included in the England team for the Indian series, but Jayawardene said that the challenge will not be easy for him. He said, “If Rory Burns starts the innings then it will be a challenge for him.” He has not played much cricket recently. Jayawardene expressed disappointment over not including wicketkeeper batsman Johnny Bairstow in the team. He said, “He is a veteran and especially considering the way he batted in the series against Sri Lanka, he should have joined the team.” Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have also advocated the inclusion of Bairstow in the team.