Beating India at home ‘a far higher thing’ for England than winning Ashes away: Swann

Last Modified Friday, 22 January 2021 (19:27 IST)
London: Former spinner feels are not the best team anymore and performance in the should no longer be the yardstick to judge the team, instead they should focus on beating at home, which he considers ‘a far higher thing’ than winning Ashes away.

England would be touring India for a four-match Test series, beginning on February 5, followed by five T20Is and three ODIs.
 
Swann said India, despite captain Kohli not being available after the first match, dominated Australia in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar series and they are virtually unbeatable at home.
 
“England always saying ‘well the Ashes are coming up’. If you want to be the best team in the world, let’s be the best team all over the planet, not just trying to beat Australia away. We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. Australia are not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles, and they were the benchmark to strive for,” Swann told The Sun.
 
“They’re not now, but we’re obsessed with this. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They’re virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn’t that the whole thing?,” he asked.
 
Swann was one of the key performers in England’s 2-1 series win in India in 2012, along with another spinner Monty Panesar. He picked up 20 wickets in that series, while Panesar bagged 17.
 
The 41-year-old, who took 255 wickets with his off-spin from 60 Tests between 2008 and 2013, reckoned England needed quality spinners and someone of the class of Kevin Pietersen, to beat a formidable Indian side at home.
 
“Why aren’t people saying ‘right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India’,” he asked.
 
“We’re not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets and then we’ve got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen,” he added.
 
The off-spinner feels former captain Pietersen changed the way England played against spin.
 
“He was ultra-aggressive. Let’s face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there. We haven’t done it since, we haven’t learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven’t gone on and used that as the blueprint,” said Swann. (UNI)