It is an unfair question at this stage given that Swann and Panesar were skilled and experienced campaigners by the time they came to India in 2012, but it hasn’t stopped Leach and Bess – who are greenhorns in international cricket – from hoping to emulate them.
“Monty and Swann are two bowlers I love to watch. I watch a lot of spin videos to try and take things from the spinners I watch. The plan is to hopefully do what Monty did. I definitely think I can make an impact in the series. India have got quite a lot of right-handers. I see that as a good thing for me. I feel like it can help me make a good impression,” Leach said during a virtual media interaction on Monday.
Panesar’s success in 2012 – where he took 17 wickets in three Tests – was primarily due to the speed at which he bowled and extracted turn, giving the Indian batsmen very little time to adjust. While Leach is aware of that, he feels he has to stick to his strength of bowling slower in the air.
“Monty bowled a quicker pace in India and that could be very tricky on a spinning pitch. I am probably not going to be bowling the same speeds. It is probably more about how the ball gets to the batsman in terms of trajectory. There have been other successful bowlers who didn’t bowl as fast as Monty did. It is about sticking to my strengths and varying my speeds a little bit. Everyone has an optimum pace. It is important to stick to that as much as possible,” the 29-year-old informed.
If Leach’s main plans to the Indian batsmen don’t work, he is also open to bowling over the wicket to the right-handers, in much the same manner as former England left-arm spinner Ashley Giles on the 2001 tour of India. Giles’ tactic was successful in frustrating Sachin Tendulkar during that series and resulted in him being stumped for the only time in his Test career.
“Bowling over the wicket to the right-handers could be a strategy for us. We talked about it in Sri Lanka in the previous series. We have spoken about changing our angles and being adaptable. Bowling over the wicket is something that was helpful to Giles. I prefer bowling around the wicket. I feel I have got more dismissals in play. I wouldn’t want to change something just because someone else did it. But it is something we could use at some point,” Leach mentioned.