India haven’t managed a Test series win in England since 2007, but former England captain Allan Lamb believes the visitors “start as the favourites” for the upcoming five-match series against England.
Lamb addressed the Indian press on Monday, citing the ongoing UK heatwave as a factor which may play into India’s hands. “I expect the conditions to be in their favour as the series unfolds,” he said.
“It has not rained here much in the last few weeks. This will result in wickets being on the drier side and that should bring the Indian spinners into play.”
Unsurprisingly, the 18-man India squad boasts an abundance of spin talent, this time comprising Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and rising star Kuldeep Yadav.
“I am impressed with Kuldeep,” Lamb said. “Yes, Joe Root and a few others did read him in the one-dayers, but I would want to still see him in action in the Tests. He and Ashwin will be a good combination to go with.”
A clear admirer of the spin trident, Lamb had a few advisory words for England’s batsmen. “You can’t just walk in thinking of only employing a particular shot such as the sweep. The trick is to use your feet as much as possible,” he said.
Lamb believes another decisive factor working in favour of the visitors is the county cricket experience of Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma. “It’s a big plus,” said Lamb, who played 79 Tests between 1982 and 1992.
“As a bowler you would know the lengths to bowl to, and as a batsman you learn to make those minute adjustments on English pitches.”
While India will be missing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for at least the first three tests, Lamb still backs their pace battery to cause England problems. “Ishant is coming after having had a good county stint,” he added.
“On the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammad Shami are capable of bowling with pace, and conditions will help them get some swing as well.”
Lastly, the all-important scoreline prediction: “3-1 … in favour of India,” predicted Lamb.