Chennai: Australia pace legend Glenn McGrath feels that India’s upcoming England tour comprising five Tests will be an intense battle between skipper Virat Kohli and veteran quick James Anderson in challenging conditions.
McGrath, who is the only fast bowler ahead of Anderson on the all-time wicket-takers list in Test cricket with 563 wickets to Anderson’s 540, conceded that while Kohli is more experienced now than the last time he toured England in 2014, the conditions in the country will still be challenging.
“Obviously, Kohli is a more experienced player this time around. There’s no doubt that he’s a quality batsman, but English conditions are pretty tough,” McGrath was quoted as saying by the ICC website.
The Indian captain averages just 13.40 in Tests in England from 10 innings and endured a horror run during India’s last tour in 2014, managing just 134 runs as they lost the five-match series 1-3. In that series, Anderson had dismissed Kohli on four occasions, including in both innings of the fourth Test in Manchester, which India lost by an innings and 54 runs.
“When you have got a bowler like Anderson, who knows the conditions so well, it’s going to be a lot of hard work for Kohli,” McGrath said.
“He has to be prepared to work hard. He can’t just go out and play his game and hit through the line. He has to be able to adapt. I’m looking forward to the battle.”
The Aussie legend, however, backed India’s pace battery of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to do well in English conditions.
“Both of them have got pretty good control. That’s what you need in England. The Duke ball has got a pronounced seam. If you get the ball in the right areas consistently, it will do a little bit throughout and they will do well,” he said.
Bumrah, who made his Test debut during the tour to South Africa in January this year, impressed in his maiden series by picking 14 wickets from three games at 25.21.
“He has got a unique action, but he bowls lengths that are challenging for the batsmen. I actually think all the Indian pacers will have success in England. It’s just a question of the batsmen getting enough runs,” he said.
India will arrive in England to play a three-match Twenty20 International series from July 3 followed by a three-match one-day international (ODI) series. Kohli’s brigade will then play their first Test from August 1 in Edgbaston, Birmingham.