The onus will be on the trio to deliver on a tough tour of India    Getty Images
The onus will be on the trio to deliver on a tough tour of India Getty Images

And it is the penultimate day before India start their second home series of a long season ahead with England as opponents. The teams have arrived at Rajkot (venue for the first Test of the five-match series), Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble have done their press conferences too and we are all set to roll. Talking about the much hyped series, India are sure-shot favourites after a a series whitewash against New Zealand while England looked searching for answers in their drawn two-Test series against Bangladesh. Nonetheless, last three series were won comprehensively by the visitors and India will be itching to get back at them.

If the two away series loss, for India, were courtesy a brilliant swing and seam bowling display by England s James Anderson-Stuart Broad pair, the home series loss in 2012-13 was set up by England s spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. Though India have a potent and polished spin attack this time around, no one is giving a chance to English spinners. Will they turn it back and spring a surprise like 2012? Let s take a look at England s four essential tweakers and their chances ahead:

Moeen Ali: India will be wary of the 29-year-old. It was India s tour of England in 2014 which made Moeen a regular wicket-taker for his side. Moeen ended the series with 19 scalps and made a resounding statement. After that, skipper Alastair Cook has been so confident of the right-arm orthodox spinner that, at times, he has played Moeen as the only spinner or leader of spin attack. He took a few wickets against Sri Lanka and Pakistan while grabbed 11 wickets in Bangladesh recently.

Moeen has a habit of breaking the shackles of the opponents batting of all a sudden. He is, despite his numbers improving, still gaining feat as a regular tweaker in the cricketing arena. While England trust him completely and it is shown in his performances, very few teams have respected him as an off spinner. Nonetheless, this has gone in favour of Moeen and he will like to continue in same stride. He tosses up the ball, nowadays bowls slower (courtesy an advice from Saqlain Mustaq) and has become tighter in his lines.

Having tasted success against India, hosts will like to be careful against him but at the same time, not get too bogged down when he comes to bowl.

Adil Rashid: Rashid will have to fill in the shoes of Panesar, who was tight in his lines and adapted to the conditions really well in 2012. It was Panesar who applied pressure and enabled Swann to pick wickets from the other end. Rashid will have to repeat the same ploy. In 5 matches played in the subcontinent, Rashid has taken 15 wickets but has an economy of 3.99. Clearly, he has not been consistent with his lines and the management will have to look into this. It is difficult for a leg spinner to hold his end on Indian soil and Rashid will feel the heat. If Indians get over-aggressive against him, it can bore good results for him and his side.

Gareth Batty: The enormous success of off spinners in Asia prompted England s think-tank to recall Batty into the squad after 13 long years. The veteran offie played in the first Test of the series against Bangladesh and picked up four crucial scalps. Though being 39, he will still be spearheaded by Moeen, who gave a sneak into what is in store for in Asia with an impactful outing in Bangladesh. England should still keep Batty in the loop as otherwise his selection would be deemed unnecessary. Batty gives good flight and though deprived of many tricks, he can still play a key role. Since 2012, off spinners have had a fruitful run in India, accounting for 82.69 per cent of dismissals. Well, it goes without saying that Ravichandran Ashwin has been the chief destructor in this tally with Swann, Panesar and Ravindra Jadeja contributing.

The essential factor for Batty can be his age. Yes, 39 can also be a turning point in his career as he will be raring to turn all opportunities that come his way into useful performances. His eagerness to contribute was evident in his childlike celebration by picking up Tamim Iqbal in his comeback Test. He will have plenty to learn from youngsters like Moeen, Ashwin and Jadeja. There will be cracks and dust by Day Three on surfaces and he can explore to cause awkward movement and turn of the red leather. He can use his age and conditions to good effect and emerge a winner.

Zafar Ansari: At 17, Ansari caught the eyes of cricketing fraternity by dismissing Kevin Pietersen in 2011 when he represented Cambridge. The 24-year-old Surrey all-rounder is a buckload of talent. A left-arm orthodox bowler, he adds to England s spin brigade that comprises of Moeen, Rashid and Batty. Apart from being a patient batsman, Ansari can also cause enough trouble to the Indians who not only believe in providing a rollicking start to a debutante s career but can also falter facing a left-armer with the ball turning away from them. India have 9 right-handers and playing the left-arm spinner Ansari can work in favour of England.

All said and done, England do not have an inspiring spin line-up at their disposal but one cannot rule out the possibility of them springing out a surprise. After all, one should underestimate their opponent at their own peril.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)