London: Former Indian player Rahul Dravid has said England must play Monty Panesar instead of all rounder Samit Patel against India in the Test series, since the turning pitches would assist the specialist spinner more.
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England look set to field part-time spinner Patel at number six to balance the side and support Graeme Swann, but Dravid believes Panesar should be picked instead of the all rounder.
“Bits and pieces cricketers haven`t had much of an impact in India. Monty has bowled well in India in the past and can keep one end tight so I would like him to play,” the BBC quoted Dravid, as saying.
Left-arm spinner Panesar has taken 142 wickets from 42 Tests, including 11 in India, and has a first-class bowling average of 30.32.
Fellow left-armer Patel averages 38.71 with the ball in first-class cricket and has three wickets from two Tests but can bat at number six to give England the option of fielding an extra bowler, and has played in all three warm up games for England in India.
“I would definitely play the two frontline spinners. Indians are extremely good players of spin and they are not going to get out to part-time bowlers,” Dravid said.
“I guess England have a problem because they don`t have that genuine all-rounder to bat at six like Andrew Flintoff, but if the tracks look like they might turn then I would play both the specialist spinners,” he added.
Dravid further said: “It will be critical to see how many runs they can score and see if they can give Swann or Panesar a chance in that fourth innings to have a go at some of the young, inexperienced Indian batsmen.”