India and England have faced off 14 times overall in T20Is. The head to head is split right down the middle, with both teams winning seven matches each.
India captain Virat Kohli is the most-successful batsman in the India vs England rivalry in T20Is. The Indian run-machine has 346 runs in 12 matches, at an average of 31.45, including one half-century. England skipper Eoin Morgan is second on the list with 314 runs in 11 matches at an average of 31.40.
In the bowling department, Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal tops the wicket taking charts in India and England T20I clashes. Chahal has so far taken 9 wickets in 6 matches, including one five-wicket haul.
With India set to kick start the five-match T20I series, Timesofindia.com caught up with former England spinner Monty Panesar to talk about the series favourites, the key clashes, England’s Test performance, Rishabh Pant‘s spectacular show in Tests and much more…
After the Test series defeat, do you think England can turn things around and win the T20I series? Their T20 squad is very different in complexion to their Test squad….
England are the World No. 1 team in T20Is. The best part is that more than half of the team has played in the IPL. So, they know the conditions well. England are favourites to win the series. The only concern is their middle order and how they deal Yuzvendra Chahal, the leg-spinner, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar. The series will be dominated by spinners. It is a different format. England will bounce back strongly.
Who according to you will be the key players for India and England?
It will be England batsmen vs Indian spinners. England top’s six can take the game away from India. England’s top six is stronger than India’s top six. They have Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes. For India, Chahal, the leg-spinner will be crucial for India. He is a clever bowler and has got variations. He is the one who can stop the England batsmen. His four overs will be critical. If India wants to win, it depends on how Chahal’s four overs go. Chahal needs to bowl well if India have to win the T20I series.
Yuzvendra Chahal (BCCI Photo)
If you have to pick three key player battles in the T20I series, which will they be?
I would pick Kohli vs Morgan. That will be the all-captains clash. Second, David Malan vs Shikhar Dhawan. This will be an interesting combination. Because Malan is number one in the world. It will be great to see how he bats in these conditions and it will be interesting to watch. The third will be Moeen Ali or Adil Rashid vs Chahal.
What went wrong for England in the Test series?
I think it was because of the introduction of crowds, England couldn’t cope with the pressure and the noise. They did really well against Sri Lanka and performed very well. England won the matches when Joe Root scored big runs. So, what ends up happening is when Joe Root doesn’t score big runs, the team doesn’t know how to win on a turning pitch. England are totally dependent on Joe Root in Tests. That’s something that Joe Root and the team and the management need to sit down and think about. ‘If I’m not going to score runs, who else is going to score runs?’ Root should think this. They need to work on how to play spinners. Johnny Bairstow was a key player and he didn’t really perform.
India will now face New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. Who according to you are the favourites to win the inaugural WTC title?
Both the teams are strong and have done really well in Tests. It will depend on the pitch conditions. If it’s a turning wicket, then obviously India. There is no doubt about that. If it is flat and seaming, then New Zealand have got a chance.
Will defeat against India have any impact on the England team in how they play in the Ashes you think?
England have players who score runs and turn the game on its head. Playing spin is that weakness right now and they should work on it. What is this shot selection? What is the game plan against bowlers? This will be assessed against New Zealand when they come to England. If the same problems happen in England, then I think there’s quite a big issue. There is no harm in going to the basics. I think there is a need for the syllabus in level four and level three coaching, the way they teach to play spin. If Joe Root can bat like a subcontinent batsman, why can’t the others? That’s what I think they need to discuss. I think that that’s a problem.
I think the way we are taught to play spin, needs to be the way how subcontinent batsmen are taught, how the Indian batsmen (are taught) in India and that needs to be the part of the coaching (manual).
Axar and Ashwin dismantled the England line up single-handedly. Your take on that…
Axar is a great bowler, but in helpful conditions. He is a skillful bowler and takes wickets on turning pitches. Ashwin has done well in both home and overseas conditions. They were given a platform and they made full use of it with their skills, mind, and experience.
Axar Patel and R Ashwin (BCCI Photo)
How difficult will it be for Axar to retain his place in the Test team once Ravindra Jadeja returns?
Jadeja does well away from India. So, there’s no doubt about that. I think they should keep a close watch on Axar’s performance. Jadeja is a way better option with the bat. Patel may be a better spinner at home and on turning pitches. India can consider Axar at home and when they travel overseas, Jadeja should come in.
How would you rate Rishabh Pant’s performance in the Test series vs England? Is he doing enough to fill Dhoni’s shoes?
Rishabh Pant (BCCI Photo)
I wouldn’t say he’s Dhoni level, I would say he’s more Gilchrist. I think he’s more a Gilchrist type of cricketer. Major tournaments like T20 World Cup and then 50-over World Cup are coming up. So, we need to see how he performs. If India win the World Cup and Rishabh plays a huge part in that, then compare him with Dhoni. The coming time and tournaments are huge for Rishabh Pant. He will be tested.