Nasser Hussain has advised the England cricket team against going with any preconceived notions during the upcoming Test series against India. He wants the visitors to select their playing XI, based on the prevailing pitch conditions.
England have a few decisions to make in terms of their playing XI, especially regarding their bowling line-up.
With Ben Stokes back in the squad as a seam-bowling all-rounder, England might be inclined to play just two specialist pacers on spin-friendly Indian tracks.
While responding to questions in Daily Mail UK, Nasser Hussain and David Lloyd threw light on the possible bowling attack England should field in the four-match Test series.
On being asked if the Joe Root-led side can include both James Anderson and Stuart Broad in their playing XI, Hussain responded by stating that the selections should not be predetermined, and instead be governed by the prevailing conditions.
He added that England might have to play the experienced duo in the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad.
"Don't over-complicate selection, don't over-think it, don't have any pre-conceived ideas. Just look down at the pitch and choose your best attack for those conditions. In Chennai, you probably need two spinners, but in Ahmedabad, under lights for the third Test, England may need to play both Anderson and Broad, have Root as second spinner and leave Bess out," mentioned Hussain
David Lloyd, however, feels the visitors should be rotating between Anderson and Broad against India, although both should play together in the Test series versus Australia later this year.
"I'm still playing one and alternating them because I think that's a great idea in these conditions. Not so for the Ashes, I won't be doing this there," observed Lloyd
England should play Bess and Leach ahead of Moeen Ali: David Lloyd
David Lloyd wants England to stick with Dom Bess and Jack Leach in the spin department, rather than playing Moeen Ali against India. He reasoned that the pair have overs behind them and would be helped by the addition of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the playing XI.
"I've thought long and hard and I'm going to keep the same two [Bess and Leach]. They will be better for the overs they bowled in Sri Lanka and they will be playing in a stronger England team for the presence of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer," pointed out Lloyd
While acknowledging that Moeen Ali is a better all-round package than Bess, Nasser Hussain also feels the former's lack of cricket would go against him. He signed off by suggesting that England may not look to play a specialist off-spinner in all Test matches, with India having a predominantly right-handed batting lineup.
"Moeen Ali right now, as a cricketer, is better than Bess, but he hasn't played Test cricket for 18 months and Bess has come in and taken wickets. But I wouldn't guarantee I'd play two spinners every Test. India’s top five are all right-handers which won’t help off-spin," concluded Hussain
Moeen Ali has a decent record against India in the longest format of the game. He has surprisingly excelled more at home against the Indians, averaging 22.22 for his 31 wickets.
But in the five Tests the off-spinner played during England's last tour to India in 2016, he scalped just 10 wickets, that too at an extremely high average of 64.90.
It will be interesting to see if he is included in the line-up because of his experience or the visitors continue with Dom Bess, assuming they opt to play a specialist off-spinner.