Joe Root and his men will be happy with Ravindra Jadeja’s absence in India’s test squad, having recently displayed their vulnerability against left-arm spin in Sri Lanka, former England batsman Mark Butcher has said.
England won both the tests in Sri Lanka but struggled to read left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who claimed 10 wickets in the second match at Galle.
All-rounder Jadeja will miss the first two tests after fracturing his thumb in Australia and left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav is not a certainty in India’s slow bowling attack led by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
“Our batters had problems facing Embuldeniya,” Butcher, who played 71 tests between 1997-2004, told Saturday’s Times of India newspaper.
“England will be buoyed by Jadeja’s absence. India possesses a world-class bowling attack but Jadeja adds a different dimension to it.”
Assistant coach Graham Thorpe warned the England batsmen on Friday against overdoing the sweep shot against the Indian spinners in the four-test series beginning in Chennai on February 5.
The tourists are expected to alter their opening pair and Butcher expected Zak Crawley to make way for Rory Burns who is back from paternity leave.
“Burns and (Dom) Sibley should be opening in the first test.
“A left-right combination is handy and England will want to stick with them. If the two get off to a good start, the rest of the batsmen too will gain confidence,” Butcher said.
Burns, speedster Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes arrived earlier in India after being rested for the series in Sri Lanka.
The trio, having served their quarantine period, began training at Chennai’s M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
The full squad will train for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, a team spokesman said.