Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene heaped praises on England for their clinical performance during the Sri Lanka tour, resulting in a 2-0 clean sweep of the Test series, and feels their current form sets them up for an exciting series with India, which begins with Test match in Chennai from February 5.
"I think that’s going to be a very exciting series and a very good challenge for this group of players. That’s what cricket is all about. You need to go away and win the Test series," Jayawardene told Sky Sports.
The English squad will receive a further boost of confidence with all-rounder Ben Stokes already reaching India ahead of the four-match Test series. The left-handed batsman is currently in Chennai and is undergoing quarantine at a city hotel.
Jayawardene felt that Stokes will bring that much-needed experience of playing in India and will further strengthen their batting unit.
"Getting Ben Stokes back will be a massive advantage for England because he will bring that experience and be another left-handed batsman in their top-order which can be crucial," he said.
Keeping in mind the complex life of a bio-bubble and a hectic 2021 calendar ahead, the England cricket board (ECB) decided to rest explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow for the first two Tests. And alike Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, Jayawardene too acknowledged that the 31-year-old Yorkshire man will be a big miss.
"I’m disappointed Bairstow is leaving the squad given his experience and the way he batted in this series. He should be in that tour party. ‘Jofra Archer will bring something to the table with his pace, especially on slower wickets. So I think overall they (England) are very well prepared," Jayawardene.