Graeme Swann claims England are being held back by the ECB's negative attitude towards spin bowling, claiming spinners are treated as "third-class citizens".
England prepared for the five-match Test series with India in underwhelming fashion as they were held 1-1 by Bangladesh.
Swann - who was key to England's victory in India in 2012-13 - was a potent force during his international Test career, taking 255 wickets in 60 matches, and he is concerned England might be in for a rough ride in the forthcoming series.
"We don't take spin seriously in this country and then bemoan the fact that we haven't got world-class spinners when we go to the subcontinent," he said on BT Sport.
"We've got a bloody good team with bloody good cricketers, but we will lose in India because of what has happened 20 years before. We are hamstrung by the fact that we treat spinners as third-class citizens."
Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty are England's options in the slow bowling department and they will be mentored by ex-Pakistan offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq.
Swann had the assistance of Mushtaq Ahmed during his time with England, but never felt enough emphasis was placed on coaching spinners.
"For me, Mushy was a brilliant sounding board and a mentor, but he only used to do 40 days a year," the 37-year-old added.
"He'd be there for a couple of weeks, then he'd go home before the second Test. But there'd still be a nutritionist or a psychologist on the tour.
"I know there's only one of me, but it's stupid. I've always bemoaned that, but until we take it seriously, we have to accept that when we play away from home in spin conditions we will be shown up."
The first Test begins next Wednesday in Rajkot.