Indian Cricket team has had a steady but not spectacular start to their Cricket tour of England.
The Virat Kohli led side won the T-20 series 2-1 but the results reversed in a 2-1 loss in the One Day international series.
The two sides now play a five match test series.
India and England first played cricket against each other in 1932.
Indian cricket teams were historically poor travellers.
The tide began to turn in the early 2000s, under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy.
He led a largely young side, unscathed from defeats overseas and instilled in them a belief to win in adverse conditions. This trend has carried on and strengthened first under first M S Dhoni and now Virat Kohli.
India now is no pushover when it comes to overseas conditions. This team has the ability to win a series in England after 11 years.
India’s last tour to England though ended on a disappointing note, when they lost the test series 4-0.
The battle this time would again be between India’s much vaunted batting line up against the English bowlers. The openers will play a pivotal role in ensuring India gets off to a good start and the middle order is not exposed to the new ball.
In Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay and K L Rahul, India has a solid troika to choose from, or in all probability play all three. Rahul especially will be hoping for a long stint in the playing eleven, after he was unceremoniously dropped from the team for the final ODI against England.
Indian batsmen will have to come good against a pace attack of James Anderson and Stuart Broad who combined have 957 test wickets between them.
Team without stokes
Ben Stokes, possibly the best all rounder in world cricket today will also be integral to English fortunes.
His off-field troubles kept him away from the team for a long time, which had an adverse impact on the results of the team.
England, were drubbed 4-0 in the last Ashes, with no Stokes in the squad.
In addition, the opening partner for Alistair Cook poses a conundrum for the team.
A dozen players have been trialled in the position since the retirement of former captain Andrew Strauss in 2012, with varying success.
India’s new Wicketkeeper
India will also be having a new wicketkeeper in the series. An injury has ruled out the incumbent Wriddhiman Saha from the tour. Dinesh Karthik looks set to add to his 24 test caps. Karthik made his debut before M S Dhoni.
He then went off the radar, only to make a comeback in India colours on the back of excellent domestic performances for Tamil Nadu and Indian Premier League (IPL) form. His astute captaincy skills were also noted in the last IPL season, when he led Kolkata Knight Riders with considerable success. In Delhi’s Rishabh Pant, Karthik has an understudy highly rated in cricketing circles, as possibly India’s answers to the destructive Australian keeper –Adam Gilchrist.
It has been an unusually warm and dry summer in England.
If this weather continues it will aid India’s cause no end. The spinners in R Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will have favourable conditions and dry pitches to bowl.
But what should help this squad the most is that they have had a long time to acclimatise before the series starts.
The India A squad has been touring England, meaning a lot of test team players are match fit and well versed with the conditions.
It promises to be an exciting series, producing excellent cricket.
Image Courtesy: The Astrologer