Belfast Telegraph

Captain Cook can steer England to an historic double, insists Patel

By David Clough

Samit Patel is confident Alastair Cook's tourists can repeat England's historic 2012 success in India.

Patel played in both Test victories en route to 2-1 series supremacy four years ago - the first time England had won in India since Cook, captain then and now, was a babe in arms in 1984-85.

This time, England's task will be no less arduous in a five-Test series spanning just six weeks against hosts with a formidable record on their own patch.

England, in fact, are the last touring team to win even a solitary Test in India - their second in succession, in Kolkata in December 2012 - and Virat Kohli's team were utterly dominant in their 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand over the past month.

They begin a sequence of seven consecutive sub-continental Tests in Chittagong today, with the first of two against Bangladesh.

Patel expects them to add victory over the next two weeks to their hard-fought one-day international verdict against Bangladesh - as they must if they are to begin with self-belief intact, and several other issues clarified, in Rajkot on November 9.

England lost the first Test to India in 2012, but Patel senses they must start better this time.

"There are no (tour) matches going into the India series, so I'm sure England will use this time wisely," he said.

"They won't take Bangladesh lightly and will be fully prepared for a tough series," he added.

Among the obvious factors which must fall into place are the identity and consolidation of Cook's latest opening partner and how best to deploy the spin contingent.

Patel was the third spinner on a tour which saw Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar outbowl Ravi Ashwin, but India's prolific wicket-taker is the only one back for more this winter.

Against a middle order packed with runs, all-rounder Patel still believes England will be capable again of taking 20 wickets.

"It does (look fantastic)," he said of India's current line-up.

"It did in 2012 - (Virender) Sehwag, Sachin (Tendulkar), (Cheteshwar) Pujara, (MS) Dhoni, Yuvraj (Singh) - but we had the bowlers to get them out.

"I'm not saying our bowlers aren't good enough to get them out this time - because I think they are.

"But that first Test match is key, to lay the foundations and to make sure England are heard that they're in town."

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