'If Pujara is the new Wall, then Cook is Bradman'
There has been a bit of illustrious name-calling going on in this Test series.
Like Cheteshwar Pujara -- perhaps unfair to both, him and Rahul Dravid -- has been christened the 'New Wall'.
And, England off-spinner Graeme Swann reckons, if that's so, then England captain Alastair Cook is the new Don Bradman.
When asked if he could think of a new name for Cook, Swann -- known for his wry sense of humour -- replied, "The new Don Bradman," sending the journalists at the media briefing into peels of laughter."Cooky is Cooky. I mean, I said it before the Test series, his batting could blossom with the captaincy responsibility as it did in the ODIs. We will be a very lucky team if this goes on. So far he's been magnificent in the three innings that he has played. At the top of the order, he has got such a calm head on his shoulders. He is also the leader and it is a very reassuring thing to have," he added after the second day's play in Mumbai on Saturday.
Image: Alastair Cook
'It is nice to finally dismiss Pujara'
Swann was also effusive in his admiration for Indian youngster Pujara, who delighted everyone yet again with a determined innings of 135 on a difficult wicket.
"He has been the stand out performer for India so far. He uses his feet very well and plays each ball on its merits. I think the runs he scored tell their own story. It is nice to finally dismiss him. It does not usually take us three innings of a Test series innings to get anyone out, now that we have done it, hopefully we have a finger on it.
"He's got a game plan that works for him. He doesn't hit the ball in the air and uses his feet well. He is a fine player and he is in good form at the moment," the England spinner said.
Swann took three wickets on the second morning to finish with four for 70 after Monty Panesar had taken five for 129 to help restrict India to 327 in their first innings.When Swann dismissed Harbhajan leg before wicket he became the 14th England bowler to complete 200 wickets in Test cricket.
Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
'I am absolutely over the moon the way my career has panned out'
The off-spinner, 33, made his Test debut in India in Chennai in 2008 and since then has made a big impact with the ball to emerge as one of the leading spinners in the world.
"It [playing for England] was only a dream. Five years ago, I never even thought about it. I am absolutely over the moon the way my career has panned out. It's changed at the top just at the right time for me and it's been a great four years," he quipped.
What is also unusual is that whenever England have played both Panesar and Swann together, they have never won a Test match. "Thanks for bringing that up. Me and Monty love playing together but our record playing as a team hasn't been very successful. We are looking to change that," he said.Swann, who bowled 34.1 overs in India's first innings, believes that once a batsman spends some time at the wicket, he finds it easier to score against the spinners.
Image: Graeme Swann
'Need to get a big lead so that we can have a crack at India again'
"It is a wicket that if you get in on then it is not too difficult to bat on even if there is turn and bounce. Once you get a rhythm of batting on this pitch, it is a very good pitch to bat on. Yesterday we were lucky that Monty kept picking up wickets every 45 or 50 minutes and we had a new man at the crease," he said.
The visitors are in a comfortable position, believes Swann, adding that they will try and post a huge first innings total to put India under pressure."We are in a good position in this game. At the end of Day 1, there was a lot of negativity, as we hadn't taken a wicket for the last couple of hours. At the end of today, I think a lot of people back in England will be in a very positive mood. We are still 150 behind and we don't want to talk about milestones and centuries and things like that. We know we need to get a lead as big as possible so that we can have a crack at India again," he said.
Image: Graeme Swann celebrates with teammates