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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Tourists winning would not be a surprise: Zafar Ansari

CricketTourists winning would not be a surprise: Zafar Ansari

England should not see themselves as underdogs for their tour of India after drawing the opening Test, says all-rounder Zafar Ansari.

The hosts were expected to dominate the five-Test series but England were on top for much of the opener.

“India were billed as favourites. Just to seemingly quash that, at least for a bit, is positive,” said Ansari before Thursday’s start of the second Test.

“We believe we can win and it wouldn’t be a massive surprise.”ansari

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the tourists would be beaten 5-0 if they did not improve on their batting performance in the drawn series with Bangladesh.

No batsman scored a century and England failed to amass 300 runs in any of their four innings as Bangladesh won a first Test against the visitors.

In the first Test against India, four different batsmen scored tons as England set their hosts a challenging run-chase and then came close to taking the 10 wickets they needed for victory.

The second Test takes place at Visakhapatnam and India have added opener KL Rahul, who has recovered from a hamstring injury to their existing 15-man squad.

He was initially ruled out of the squad for the first two Tests but the Board of Control for Cricket in India says the 24-year-old has “fully recovered”.

Rahul could replace veteran Gautam Gambhir, who scored 29 and zero in the opening Test.

Saqlain stay extended

Meanwhile, England’s new specialist consultant Saqlain Mushtaq is to stay on until the end of the third Test.

“He has just reaffirmed the basics really,” added 24-year-old Ansari of the former Pakistani off-spinner. “He hasn’t brought anything particularly new.

“But I think the way in which he talks about spin bowling is very useful for a young spinner because he keeps it simple,

“He allows you to focus on very small parts of your action and also instils a lot of confidence in you as a bowler and I think that combination works really well.

“It’s about the way he approached spin bowling, which was to take out all the external factors and just concentrate each time on your skill.

“He brings a spiritual dimension to it which is something that I have never really thought about in relation to bowling.”

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