Don’t rely on spinners to beat India, Harmison tells England

FORMER England bowler Steve Harmison insists that seamers must contribute wickets if England are to be successful in India, when the first Test begins on Thursday in Ahmedabad.

England have not won a series since 1985 on Indian soil, where seamers have struggled to make an impact in conditions widely suited to spin bowlers.

“They [seamers] all bowl well with the reverse swinging ball and I think that’s going to be the key for England,” he said.

“I’m sure England are banking on Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar doing the bulk of the wicket-taking. If you want to be the best bowler that you can possibly be you’ve got to go out and perform in these countries.”

Harmison believes England can succeed in India, but only if they find a way to stop their formidable top-order batsmen from scoring freely.

“I’m sure they’ll have a gameplan to stop boundaries and cut off the big shots that the Indians do like to play and build pressure that way,” he said.

The 34-year-old doubts England can recreate the home 4-0 whitewash they inflicted on India last year.

“When England won 4-0 in England, they bombarded the Indians with short balls,” he added. “They probably won’t be able to do that again as the ball doesn’t tend to bounce above shin height.”

Spinner Graeme Swann has rejoined the side after a trip home, while pacemen Stuart Broad and Steven Finn are fighting to be fit for Thursday.