Careful with sweep shot against India, warns Thorpe

Sweeping can be a handy shot to negate the spinners but Joe Root and his men will need to employ it judiciously in the upcoming Test series against India, England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said on Friday.

India have often subjected touring teams to a trial by spin and batsmen who can play the sweep shot have fared better on those turning tracks.

Thorpe called it a ‘handy shot to have’ but warned the touring batsmen cannot just begin sweeping at the sight of the spinners.

“Sometimes the surface might not turn straightaway in India,” Thorpe told a video conference from Chennai which hosts the series opener from Feb. 5.

“Sometimes the game can stretch out and they might start to turn on day three or beyond day three.”

“Understanding when and how to operate with the sweep shot is important to be able to manoeuvre the field, put fielders in places where maybe the bowler really doesn’t want them, which then gives you another opportunity to rotate the strike.”

The former Test batsmen felt England need not look beyond skipper Joe Root for a template on how to play the shot.

“I think he gets himself into a good position,” Thorpe said.

“I think he looks for the line and the length of the delivery and then chooses where he’s able to put it — there are fine sweep, square sweep, and slog sweep.”

“Being in a really good position to execute is the key to it.”

Thorpe also warned his team not to underestimate India’s pace attack, led by Jasprit Bumrah.

“The thing about the Indian bowling attack is that it’s not just about spin. Their seam attack is also strong,” he said.

“From that point of view we don’t have to get side-tracked completely into the spin side of things.”

Chennai hosts the first two matches with the next two, including a pink-ball Test, scheduled in Ahmedabad.

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