England off-spinner Graeme Swann on Tuesday sought to spice up the much-anticipated Test series against India, starting at Lord’s on Thursday by claiming that his side’s top order batsmen are better than the famed batting line-up of the visiting team.
Swann said England have a superior batting line-up to India’s and expects them to prove it during the four-match Test series.
“They have got a very good batting line-up but I’d argue whether they are the best in the world at the minute because I think our top six might be,” said Swann.
“Their records certainly stack against each other,” said Swann when asked about the challenge of facing up to the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman in the second half of the summer.
The Test series will see a modified version of Decision Review System in operation with Hot-Spot and snickometer to be employed but Swann rued the absence of Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology as it will only be worth challenging caught-behind decisions and not LBWs.
Swann, who has taken 140 wickets in 32 Tests since making his debut in India in December 2008, has benefited from the introduction of the DRS, particularly with LBW shouts.
“It would be nice if we were using it (DRS). It has been a great introduction to Test cricket over last two-three years and it works. But so be it, the powers that be have decided we are only using it for I think caught behinds,” he said.
“It’s a shame it’s (Hawk-Eye) not being used. I hope there aren’t any decisions that change Test matches because of it. It’s one of those things that Indians have been reluctant to use since it came out. All over the world there are traditionalists and I’m sure there are some people at Lord’s who are happy with this situation. The standard of umpiring has improved because of DRS,” Swann said.
On his own prospects in the series, Swann said, “The trick is to put enough runs on the board as a team to then allow our bowlers to bowl them out twice. Should that happen, should the sun come out a little bit, I may get a chance to bowl and take some wickets.
“I am not overly fussed if it (the pitch) doesn’t spin too much as long as it swings around for the likes of Jimmy Anderson to exploit.”
Swann said England should stay focused on the immediate task at hand rather than getting carried away with the thoughts of becoming the world number one side.
“It’s going to be a huge game. It feels like summer has finally arrived. We are playing against the number one team in the world, we are striving to be the number one team in the world, so it is a very exciting time for us.
“We think about winning each game. At the end of the series we can sit back and see where we are, hopefully after winning 2-0 or 3-1 – or whatever we need to get to number one in the world,” he said.
“That (top ranking) is a product of playing well and not something we focus on,” Swann added.
England can topple top-ranked India if they win the series by a two-match margin.