He is considered to be one of the finest spinners the world cricket has ever seen. With 189 wickets in 49 Test matches, Erapalli Prasanna is famous for his complete mastery over the flight. He was difficult to tackle even in batting friendly wickets. In a recent chat with the CricketSoccer.com, the former off-spinner from India made his prediction on India-England upcoming test series.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): How are you seeing India’s chances in the upcoming Test series in England?
Erapalli Prasanna (EP): It will be a very exciting series. I’m quite sure about that. In England, it’s now the second half of summer and the weather is pretty dry. That’s why there is every possibility of spinners getting aid from the 22 yards. England will be aggressive. But I wouldn’t rate their bowling attack very highly. I think India will do well. Virat Kohli and his boys have a bright chance to lift the Trophy. My prediction is: Advantage India.
CS: What could be the ideal bowling combination for team India, going by form and English pitch and conditions?
EP: Again, I’m saying, the pitches in England can help the spinners this time. India should play with 2 spinners and 3 fast bowlers. Kuldeep Yadav should play along with Ravichandran Ashwin. I don’t think Ravinder Jadeja will be as effective as Kuldeep might be on those wickets. Jadeja is also not looking in great shape. Virat should use his spinners in a very calculated way. He will have to attack the opposition batting by taking wickets rather than checking runs. The pacers will be key in the initial overs. But if you look to get the 20 wickets in each and every test match, you have to rely on the spinners who could turn the game in the middle overs.
In a nutshell, India should play the aggressive brand of cricket and I’m sure they will because Virat, himself, is a very tough and aggressive guy on the field and that characteristic of the skipper will be reflected on the whole team.
CS: Ashwin doesn’t have a great record in England. Your take.
EP: Ashwin is such a bowler who likes to get the rhythm from the very first over. And if you have observed him closely you will discover that if he picks wicket in his initial overs, he is a completely different bowler. Ashwin needs early breakthrough. But he has to keep calm. Yes, don’t think about your record outside the subcontinent. Just go and enjoy bowling. That’s the key.
CS: How would you assess Kuldeep Yadav?
EP: He is really exceptional talent. In recent times, we have not seen many chinaman bowlers and that is why Kuldeep has become a mystery spinner. Batsmen feel uneasy in front of a chinaman spinner. Kuldeep is a surprise. But Test cricket is a different ball game. Here, the batsman might choose not to attack him and play defensively. That sort of approach will make Kuldeep’s job difficult. He is a very good One day and T20 bowler with his wicket-taking ability.
But you have to keep in mind that in limited overs cricket, a batsman has to attack a bowler to score runs. So the chance of taking wickets is enhanced. But in Test cricket, you have to earn every wicket. My advice to him will be, don’t go for wicket in every delivery. Just stick to the basics. And don’t be scared to keep the ball in the air. Flight is the key weapon for a spinner to get success outside the subcontinent.
CS: How optimistic are you about Virat Kohli’s getting big runs in England, where he had struggled last time?
EP: Look, I know Virat has struggled in England. But he is not the same batsman which he used to be four years back. He is a completely different batsman now. He has the technique. He is hardworking and he is a good learner of the game as well. I feel he will be successful with the bat this time. I believe he could become a game changer in the test series.