England will miss off-spinner Swann's genius: Pietersen

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Old 09-Jul-2014
England will miss off-spinner Swann's genius: Pietersen

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen thinks the hosts could be in for a particularly tough Test series at home against India in the absence of Graeme Swann.

Off-spinner Swann's retirement during England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia has left Alastair Cook's side without a specialist slow bowler, given the selectors refusal to recall Monty Panesar.

Swann took 255 wickets in 60 Tests and was a mainstay of the attack.

"Alastair Cook struggles to captain the side when opposition batters become established because he cannot toss the ball to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure," Pietersen wrote in his column in today's Daily Telegraph on the eve of the first of a five-Test series between England and India at Nottingham's TrentBridge ground.

"Swann made Andrew Strauss's captaincy look good and he made Cook's look good, too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition were threatening to take the game away.

"It was down to Swann's genius, and not tactical masterstrokes.

During Englandís recent 1-0 defeat in a two-Test series at home to Sri Lanka off-spinner Moeen Ali, was sparingly used by captain Cook.
"The Indians respect Swann hugely, they think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they are licking their lips about facing any other English spinner who bowls to them."

Pietersen added India would be helped by the fact that English pitches are no longer the green seamers of old.

"Home advantage was lost when new drainage systems were installed at Test venues turning our pitches into sandpits," Pietersen said.

"They are horrendous. They give little to the seamers and when it spins, it does so slowly, negating the threat of the turning ball.

"The drainage was addressed with the best of intentions; to give the public as much cricket as possible by reducing the amount of overs lost to rain.

"It is good news for chief executives running grounds carrying the burden of heavy debts but in terms of the quality of cricket the public are seeing, it is not good enough...It is something that has really changed since India were beaten here 4-0 three years ago."

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