Too risky to focus on Tendulkar alone: Swann
England has a lot to prove in the upcoming Test series against India, says Bikash Mohapatra.
There's a lot at stake for England in the upcoming Test series against India.
For starters, the visitors were victorious the last time they toured the Isles, securing what was their first series win on English soil since 1986.
Besides, England haven't beaten India at home in nine years and haven't won a Test against the country they are hosting in five years -- since that famous win at the Wankhede in 2006.
More importantly, should Andrew Strauss's men put it across India, by a two-Test margin, they will replace the latter as the top-ranked Test team.
No wonder they are all geared up for the series, beginning with the opening Test at Lord's on Thursday.
"We have made no bones of the fact that we want to be the No.1 Test team in the world," said Graeme Swann.
He then went on to elucidate his point.
"It has been a goal for the last two years and our performance graph has gone up in the time," explained England's top spinner.
"At the moment, India is the No.1 Test team in the world. And they are there on merit."
Image: Andrew Strauss during a practice session
Photographs: Getty Images
Nothing less than a series win
"So the first and foremost thing for us would be to try and win the series against them."
Swann went on to label the series as England's prime assignment this summer.
"This is the major draw for the summer, taking nothing out of the series against Sri Lanka," he said, adding, "We are confident following the series win over Sri Lanka.
"In fact, we always expect to win when we go into a series. And, hopefully, the weather should hold out at the back end of the season and help us in achieving a result."
Batting has been India's strength for years. And though this English team is worried about this aspect, they are, at the same time, confident of their own batsmen.
"They have a loaded batting line-up," agreed Swann, before adding, "But ours, with (Alastair) Cook, (Jonathan) Trott and now (Andrew) Strauss back in form, looks good on paper as well."
Image: Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad during a practice session in Lord's
Sehwag not playing is definitely a big blow for India
The absence of flamboyant opener Virender Sehwag, for the opening two Tests, has added to England's confidence.
"When you take a player of the calibre of Sehwag, it is certainly a loss for the side losing him," explained Swann.
"So Sehwag not playing is definitely a big blow for India.
"How big is something we never know, as we are not sure when he is going to come back."
Image: Virender Sehwag
'There are many other good players in this Indian team'
With Sehwag out, one would assume the focus of the English think-tank would be on Sachin Tendulkar, on the threshold of a 100th international hundred.
However, Swann said focusing solely on the Master Blaster tantamounts to committing hara kiri.
"It would be very risky to focus only on Sachin," he explained.
"Sure, he is a great player. But, then, there are many other good players in this Indian team who can smack it in if not dismissed early.
"And we wouldn't want that to happen."
Image: MS Dhoni speaks to Duncan Fletcher during a practice session