Mind Games? England Star’s Intriguing Take On ‘Spin Friendly’ Pitches For Tests In India

England wicketkeeper batter Johnny Bairstow feels if India opt for turning pitches during the five-Test series later this month, “it will negate bit of their strength in their seam attack”. England had lost the Test series 1-3 to India on spin-friendly tracks during their 2021 tour of the country. “India can produce different pitches: it doesn’t have to turn. We’ve seen how potent their seam attack has been recently,” Bairstow told Sky Sports.

“Look, I’m sure the pitches will turn: it’s whether or not they’ll turn from day one, which potentially negates a bit of their strength in their seam attack. We know how strong they are,” he added.

The 34-year-old added that he does not want to overthink the challenge of facing spin bowling in India.

“Obviously, the last time Axar and Ashwin played well. You forget that in that first Test match, the guys played really well, Rooty (Joe Root) got a double in the first Test match in Chennai and then the conditions changed quite drastically. We know that it’s the quality spinners, especially in India, we know that they are going to come at us. Whether Axar plays, whether he doesn’t play. Whether Jadeja plays or Kuldeep plays, who knows? We’ll have to wait and see. But there’s no point in overthinking things before their squad’s announced before we see the pitch and the conditions that (are) in front of us.” Bairstow said the onus will be on the entire team and not just the spinners to pick wickets.

“I think it will be the whole bowling attack’s effort to go out there to take 20 wickets but it’s not just the spinners. The seamers have got a big job to do, the batters in the field have massive jobs to do.” With fellow wicketkeeper Ben Foakes earning a recall to the England team for the series, Bairstow is unsure who will be donning the wicketkeeper’s gloves in India.

“I’ve not spoken to anyone about that. As long as I’m over there, as long as I’m fit and firing, the selection decisions will be taken out of my hands. But look, I’m fairly happy with where I’m at, whether I’m keeping, batting or whatever it is.” Defending champions England had a miserable ODI World Cup in India last year and with the Test series soon approaching, Bairstow wants to “get himself into a position where he can go and take on an Indian Test”.

“I’ve been getting my ankle right, just training in the gym pretty hard, catching up with friends and family.” “Having come back from the injury that I had, it was a pretty full-on summer… it’s been great to just have a bit of a refresh, have a bit of time with the family and just to make sure the ankle is as good as it can be.” The five-Test series starts on January 25 in Hyderabad.

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