Dubai: England are embarking on a difficult Test series with the knowledge that India’s fortress at home is close to impossible to breach. But the Three Lions’ whiteball all-rounder Chris Jordan thinks otherwise and feels England will be able to win the series that is set to begin at Hyderabad on January 25.
“Being an England cricketer, I support England team. The way Ben Stokes is leading the team in Tests, particularly with the attacking brand of cricket, he is always looking to take the game forward. India are always a handful in home conditions. So it should be a great series to watch,” Jordan, who is a crucial member for defending champions Gulf Giants in DP World ILT20, told media during an interaction session in Dubai on Monday. “The first game, the way it unfolds, will set the series up brilliantly.”
England, who have preferred to train in Abu Dhabi than play the practice games in India, are doing everything possible in their realm to throw the kitchen sink at India. During the strenuous, 10-day preparatory camp at Sheikh Zayed Sports Hub, the Three Lions have played numerous matches on doctored pitches, simulating the match situations that they might encounter against the famed Indian spinners before departing to India on Sunday.
The Indians bank on their spin quartet of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. The variety in Indian spin — off-spin, left-arm orthodox spin and left-arm wrist spin — make it a potent combination that goes hand-in-hand with an incisive pace attack. The Indian batting suffered a big setback when talismanic Virat Kohli pulled out of the first two Tests due to personal reasons. England’s Harry Brook too pulled out for similar reasons.
Jordan, who was not willing to predict on the outcome of the five-Test series, still feels England will emerge victorious. “I don’t want to give too much of a prediction, but definitely England will win.”
However, the big question that skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have been playing the aggressive ‘Bazball’ cricket over the last few years. However, that aggressive form of cricket didn’t yield the desired results during the recently concluded 50-over World Cup in India. But Jordan had a different take on it.
“Funnily enough, I actually think we weren’t aggressive enough in the World Cup. As a team, if you speak to most people, they would probably like us to be even a little bit more aggressive. Since 2015, we’ve had a lot of success playing in that style and having that frame of mind going into game. So it’s just a matter of continuing, but at times it gets challenged. It is only in adversity that the good character comes out. So, hopefully, it should be a great series.”
UAE talents are key
Jordan, who played a big role in Gulf Giants winning their maiden title last year by winning both the White and Red Belts for best bowler and most valuable player, feels that the standard of the ILT20 has gone up and feels it is going to be challenging to defend the title.
After a winning start against the Sharjah Warriors in the opener, the Adani-owned defending champions suffered a reversal at the hands of MI Emirates in the second clash, after winning three times against the Indians last year. “The initial impressions is that the level has definitely gone up a level, with both the personnel and the quality within the teams, especially the game against MI Emirates. You could see a little bit of a rivalry start. If you look at all the squads as well, everyone has gotten stronger. But the biggest difference comes from the UAE players, they’ve made the tournament a bit stronger as well,” said the 35-year-old all-rounder, who has played in many Twenty20 franchise leagues across the world.
“In our team, Aayan Afzal Khan and Sanchit Sharma have really developed the game and have come back better and stronger cricketers. As long as the UAE players continue to improve their standard, the league will continue to get better as well,” he concluded.