Ian Bell

Ian Bell said that the India-England series will be a “closely contested” affair Getty Images

Ahmedabad, Nov 6, 2012

Visiting England players are taking a leaf out of former India captain Rahul Dravid’s book as far as playing spin bowling is concerned ahead of the upcoming four-match Test series against India, according to batsman Ian Bell.

“We are going through videos to analyse how Rahul Dravid had played spin, used his feet against them and utilised the depth of the crease to defend and attack them,” Bell said.

Saying that the series will be “closely-contested” one, England wicket-keeper Matt Prior, who arrived here with other players today, said the visiting batsmen will “wisely” employ the sweep shot to tame spinners.

“It depends on the batsmen and the bowler he is up against. If he feels that he is comfortable playing the sweep shot to negate spinners, then he may as well employ that. But, personally, I feel that it depends on the merit (length and trajectory) of the ball,” Prior said.

The England players were interacting with the media ahead of the third and final practice match, against Haryana, starting on Thursday. The first Test is beginning from November 15.

“Any Test series in India is a challenge. More so, when you look back and see that the last time you won was 28 years back. We will draw back from our previous experiences of having played here and try to avoid committing same mistakes again,” he said.

Prior hoped that pacemen Steve Finn and Stuart Broad would recover in time for the opening Test from injuries.

“Broad’s injury was a lesser concern while Finn’s condition was being monitored,” he said.

Bell said they were trying to spend maximum time in the middle as possible to get used to the wickets.

On Yuvraj Singh’s comeback, Bell stated: “It’s good to see him come back. He’s a world-class player. You want to come and play with the best team and we are doing that.”

On Sachin Tendulkar, the England batsman said that he is the best player of all times. “It was an honour to play against him,” Bell said.

One down batsman Jonathan Trott said the team would try to ensure “mishaps” such as the ones in the UAE (against Pakistan where they lost 0-3) don’t recur.

Concentrating on foot movement and head position while playing spin bowling is important, Trott opined, adding that the Test series would be a closely-contested one.

To a question whether this team was better than the Andrew Flintoff-led side of 2006 or the 2008 side captained by Andrew Strauss, Prior said, “We have a much more experienced team this time around.

“The likes of “(Kevin) Pietersen, (Ian) Bell, (Alastair) Cook, who have played here earlier, will help us immensely.”

On missing Strauss’ experience at the top of the order, he said “Strauss(y) is a class player. He’s won a lot of games for us. He had a wealth of experience of how to operate against spinners.”