Moeen Ali  (above) is not the answer to Graeme Swann © Getty Images
Moeen Ali (above) is not the answer to Graeme Swann © Getty Images

England’s success in recent past has largely been due to the brilliance of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook.  Of late, Joe Root has emerged as a strong contender in that list. England has excelled in Test cricket, and there is one more cricketer who should be credited for it. That one cricketer is not Kevin Pietersen — it is Graeme Swann — whose ideal replacement has not yet been found. England are levelled with Australia at 1-1 in the Ashes 2015 and if they are to win this series, they must try the spin duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, feels Nikhil Popat.

Graeme Swann was England’s best bet in off-spin for a long time. His performances echoed England’s success at home and in a few memorable ones away as well. Swann retired during a horror tour of Australia in 2013-14, taking just seven wickets in three games at an average of 80.00. Since then, England are yet to find a spinner to match Swann’s credentials and success.

Moeen Ali might be taking wickets for now but they are adding into his account majorly because of batsmen taking the aggressive route against him, and not the spinner working hard to earn them. In cricket, it is easy to get carried away with numbers; a bowler can get a five-for without even bowling at his best. In Moeen’s case, the batsmen are willing to take risks, in result turn a little careless and end up throwing away their wickets. Moeen seems to be benefitting with opposition not being able to work out a plan to counter him. READ — Ashes 2015: Where have all the batsmen gone?

But, Moeen is not the answer to England’s spin woes.

The last time when England defeated Australia at home in 2013, Swann played a massive role in it. Even if you go just by numbers, they are impressive; Swann picked up 26 wickets in five Tests at an average of just under 30, 29.03 to be precise. England tried Simon Kerrigan in the final Test and was thrashed. England need to find a spinner to back their new ball bowlers, or develop a pair who can carry out the job. With the pitches being on the drier side as well, it makes more sense to use the conditions better. READ:Ashes 2015: Michael Clarke’s lack of runs dangerous for Australia

Going ahead into The Ashes 2015, England have drafted in Adil Rashid in their squad and coach Trevor Bayliss has hinted about adding more spinners in their attack at Edgbaston. It is a venue where spinners have historically done good for England. Australia’s woes against spinners are well documented. Australia were blanked 0-4 in India, beaten in United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Pakistan for their lesser skill of negotiating spin bowling, and England should exploit it.

England’s decision to drop Gary Ballance was a timely one and replaced him with Jonathan Bairstow. England might have needed a deeper batting line-up, but with their ace bowler James Anderson not being at his best, they need back up in bowling department. If they are ready to drop a batsman it opens up a space in the lower order and Rashid can fill that spot for them. They can have Moeen batting at No. 7 and Rashid is more than handy with the bat. The combination could provide England a good balance to their team as they get ready to face an in-form Australian side at a venue which has hosted some historic matches. READ: Mitchell Johnson will need to prove that Lord’s was no flash in the pan

(Nikhil Popat is a cricket lover and a PotterHead. He can be followed on Twitter @CricCrazyNIKS)