Calcutta: Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne has asked England to follow a five-point gameplan, including a unique bowling strategy, if they are to become the first England team to win a Test series in India in 28 years.
Warne said the same plan, prepared by him, was executed successfully by the Australian side during their India tour in 2004 when they won 2-1.
“There were two important points: attacking bowling with defensive fields and defensive bowling with attacking fields. That sounds counterintuitive, so it’s important to grasp the thinking behind this statement,” Warne wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph.
Warne said such tactics worked wonders for them in containing the famed Indian middle-order of 2004. “We went with that mindset in 2004 and it worked. If, for instance, Glenn McGrath was all over VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid then that was the time to adopt a defensive field and not be overly aggressive. So we defended with the field.
“Defending with the ball means bowling nothing but your stock delivery and being super patient, so you can attack with the field as there won’t be any bad balls. If James Anderson is swinging the ball all over the place then it is not the time to attack and have four slips, leg gully and bat-pad because if he gets it slightly wrong it goes for four.
“If that happens too often, you lose momentum. This is when the defensive field-attacking bowling theory works. When he’s just attempting to take the ball away from the right-hander — his stock ball, so defensive bowling — then attack with the field,” he explained.
Warne said the key to success against Indian batsmen would be to dry up the boundaries. “The Indian guys thrive on boundaries. They like to have momentum all the time. If you slow that down, be patient and try to ensure that when they hit good shots they don’t get boundaries, we found they became frustrated.”
Warne’s third advice to the English side was to embrace the Indian culture. “In 2004, we also learnt to embrace the environment.”
Warne then touched upon spin bowling and emphasised on the importance of a spinner being versatile in the Indian conditions.
Warne, in his final point, recommended the English batsmen to focus on rotating strike to build pressure on the spinners.