Southampton pitch in WTC final will help spinners: Panesar

Pitch at Southampton will help spinners giving India edge over New Zealand in World Test Championship (WTC) final, said former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

The WTC final will be played in Southampton between June 18 and 22.

“I think the Southampton wicket will help the spinners and also the fact that New Zealand players don’t play spin very well [giving India edge],” Panesar told IANS.

Panesar, who had left everyone surprised by predicting a 5-0 win for India in five-Test series against England in August-September, now said that 5-0 won’t happen.

Panesar had tweeted recently that pitches in England in August-September will help spin bowlers giving India advantage over England, who struggled to play spin in the recent 1-3 Test series defeat in India.

While dismissing his own 5-0 prediction, Panesar said India can win the series since they have quality seamers and batsmen who have experience of playing in seaming conditions.

“I think this time around, it obviously has got to do with the weather but also this India team is much stronger. They have got good seamers, they play the swinging ball better and their spinners have a better option of how to do stuff well,” added Panesar.

“This [Indian] team is playing really good cricket. There will be no 5-0, but they have got a chance to win the series,” added the former left-arm spinner who was one of the heroes for England in the 2-1 Test series win in India in 2012-13.

The 39-year-old said the key to England’s success will be the performance of experienced pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

While Anderson is just five wickets short of Anil Kumble’s tally of 619, which is the third best in Test cricket, Broad has claimed 517 wickets in his Test career. Their tallies will most likely increase after the series against New Zealand that began at Lord’s on Wednesday.

“While I think England are a good team in England but against India they all find it difficult against spin. So it will be a very interesting series. We will have to see how the likes of [England pace bowlers] Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will perform,” added Panesar on the sidelines of his joining GoNuts social media platform.

Panesar, who represented England in 50 Test matches and picked 167 wickets, said India need to play left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in Tests in England as he expects him to do well in English conditions. He had recently picked both Ashwin and Jadeja in India’s playing XI for the WTC final.

“Ravindra Jadeja would do really well. He bowls well away from India and I expect him to bowl well in English conditions,” said Panesar.