Bad time to face England: Graeme Swann picks Ben Stokes’s men as favourites against India for 5th Test

Former spinner Graeme Swann said England are playing ultra-positive cricket and that they will head into the rescheduled 5th Test against India as slight favourites. India and England will meet in Birmingham from July 1.

England will take on India in a rescheduled Test from July 1 in Birmingham (AP Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • England will take on India in the rescheduled Test from July 1
  • Ben Stokes’s men hammered world champions New Zealand 3-0
  • India played a 4-day practice match against Leicestershire earlier this month

Former England spinner Graeme Swann said England will begin a slight favourties when they take on Indai in the rescheduled 5th Test, starting July 1 in Birmingham, adding that it’s a bad time to face Ben Stokes’s men, considering their resurgence in the longest format of the game.

England will head into the rescheduled Test, which is a spillover from last year’s series, after having hammered world Test champions New Zealand 3-0 in an emphatic manner, marking a fine start to a new era of their Test team under Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

On the other hand, India have concerns to address as they geared up for the one-off Test after having played only a 4-day practice match against Leicestershire from June 23 to 27. Doubts over captain Rohit Sharma’s availability prevails as the star batter tested positive for Covid-19 last Saturday and is racing against time to be in contention. India also will miss star opener KL Rahul, who has been ruled out due to an injury.

“England are in a very good position and I would say they are slight favourites because of that series (against New Zealand),” Swann said in.a virtual interaction for Sony Sports.

“And the fact that India just had one (warm-up) game in England, so they are coming in cold (for) the Test match, which is a bit of disadvantage. They (England) have got the three Test matches under their belt, so that makes them pre-game favourites.”

‘ENGLAND PLAYING ULTRA-POSITIVE CRICKET’

Swann said England are looking powerful in Test cricket once again with Joe Root in fhe form of his life and Ben Stokes galvanising a team that was in tatters, having won only 2 of their last 17 matches before they faced New Zealand at home.

Jonny Bairstow has also hit peak form, smashing quickfire hundreds in stunning chases against New Zealand.

“You are going to face an England team where Joe Root is back to his absolute best, where Olive Pope is playing his best-ever for England. Ben Stokes has amalgamated the team and got playing in an ultra-positive and rock and roll fashion.

“There are chinks in the armour – the opening batting slot is still very weak. But nearly all the other spots had excellent (returns). Even the spinner Jack Leach, who is under a lot of pressure, has got 10 wickets in a match,” Swann added.

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