Sourav Ganguly said he is impressed with both Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin    AFP
Sourav Ganguly said he is impressed with both Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP

As India prepare to take on England in the first Test at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the hosts should play on pitches. He also said that the team must play on pitches that do not turn on Day One and Day Two, to increase the challenge and get the players prepared for challenges away from home. He also mentioned that England team has changed a lot since their victory in 2012 against India and that the hosts will definitely be the favourites looking at their current success. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

Talking to espncricinfo.com, Ganguly said, “I think the wickets are going to be good. And India should be playing on good pitches. I firmly believe they will continue to be unbeatable at home. But if you want to be a good bowling unit overseas, where your spinners come into play and win you Test matches, Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja will have to learn bowling on good first-day, second-day pitches, where there is no turn, where you have got to bowl the right line and right length. And on day four, day five, the game will change very quickly in these conditions.”

He also spoke about Ravichandran Ashwin’s brilliant run. “There was never a doubt about him as a bowler in these conditions. If you look at his record in the first 12-13 Test matches in the subcontinent, he has got 100 wickets. There is always a question mark on how he bowled in England and Australia and South Africa. And there’s definitely an improvement on that. He has definitely got better in those conditions.

“He has continued to thrive on these turning pitches. I don’t think it is that difficult bowling on these turning pitches. You see Jadeja, his record home and away is like chalk and cheese. Ashwin will be very, very dangerous in this squad. Jadeja as well. Pitches turning. Fast. Hitting the rough and turning it away. He will be very, very hard to get away. So England will have to bat very well in the first innings. Toss will be crucial. They will be looking to win the toss and bat first. Lots of things will affect how this series goes but Ashwin is going to be a huge threat.”