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England should focus on beating India instead of Ashes obsession: Graeme Swann

By Pti

London, January 22: India seem 'virtually unbeatable' after their historic Test triumph in Australia and England would be achieving something bigger than their 'obsession' Ashes if the tourists manage to upstage Virat Kohli's men next month, feels former spinner Graeme Swann.

England would be touring India for a four-match Test series, beginning on February 5, followed by five T20 Internationals and three ODIs.

Swann said India, despite captain Kohli not being available after the first match, dominated Australia like very few sides have.

"England always saying 'well the Ashes are coming up'. Australia are not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles, ... they're not now, but we're obsessed with this," Swann told tabloid 'The Sun'.

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"We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They're virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn't that the whole thing?" he asked.

He said if England want to be the best in the world, they should move away from the fixation of just trying to beat Australia in away series. The Ashes is scheduled to start in December this year in Australia.

The 41-year-old Swann, who took 255 wickets with his off-spin from 60 Tests between 2008 and 2013, asked the England players to learn from past mistakes and take on spin like Kevin Pietersen did the last time the Three Lions won a series in India back in 2012.

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"Why aren't people saying 'right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India'.

"We're not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets and then we've got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen."

Swann feels former captain Pietersen changed the way England played against spin.

"He was ultra-aggressive. Let's face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there.

"We haven't done it since, we haven't learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven't gone on and used that as the blueprint."

 
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Story first published: Friday, January 22, 2021, 11:43 [IST]
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