In their second tour assignment of 2018, the Indian Cricket Team will take on the team from England in their very own background on a tour that will last for almost 3 months. While the 5-match test series will check the profess of both teams in the longest format, they will start this gruelling contest with two limited overs series, beginning with 3 T20Is and then followed by 3 ODIs.
With the 2019 Cricket World Cup, also scheduled to take place in England, just 10 months away, this limited-overs leg will be the beginning of World Cup preparations for both the teams. Both teams are full of word class players, such as Virat Kohli, Joe Root and others, who excel in their respective fields, and this will provide for a number of fun contests between these players.
Here are the 5 player showdowns to look forward during India v England limited-overs leg.
Jason Roy vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
This is the battle that will catch the attention of a lot of eyes during the 6 fixtures. The last time India visited England in 2017 for the Champions Trophy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was their most successful bowler and was also highly successful during the 2014 Full Tour. The conditions in England have historically supported immense swing during the first 10 overs, and this will come in handy to Bhuvi, who has made a name for himself with his swing.
On the England side, Jason Roy has been wreaking havoc at the top of the order for quite some time now. He has won a number of matches for them, and, with the English pitches becoming more friendly, has continuously smashed the best of bowlers during the powerplay. With two champions of powerplay facing each other, it will be interesting to see which of these two will end up getting the upper hand on the other.
Joe Root vs Yuzvendra Chahal
The biggest success story for India in the last 12 months has been the extraordinary success rate achieved by the two wrist spinners - Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Not only did the two spinners demonstrate their profess in the subcontinent, but also destroyed the South African batting order in their own backyard. Chahal, in particular, has been highly economical and will be looking to continue his form in England as well.
The toughest job for the young leggie in England will be to control the scoring rate in the middle over and put break on England premier batsman, Joe Root. Root is one of those few players from England who is an equally good player of pace and spin, and has scored runs against the best spinners in the world at a healthy average. Chahal will be looking to stop Root's juggernaut run against spin, and dismantle his flow during the middle overs.
Jos Buttler vs Jasprit Bumrah
A collision between two of the best in ODI cricket at present, this battle between ODI Specialist Jos Buttler and World Number 1 bowler Jasprit Bumrah will test each man's profess in the final overs of the inning. On one hand, you have a bowler who, in two years, has become the most lethal ODI bowler in the world. Be it taking wickets at the end of the inning, or putting a full stop on the run rate, Bumrah has succeeded in achieving everything.
Standing in Bumrah's way is a guy who is not only England's best ODI player but probably the most complete ODI player in the world at this moment. One doesn't have to go too far to watch Buttler's exceptional batting talent during the final overs of an innings, as we witnessed one of the best innings of his career in the final match of the series against Australia. Both teams will be looking to utilize their weapon during the slog overs, even though it will be really hard to predict which if these two will get the upper hand.
Shikhar Dhawan vs Moeen Ali
A showdown between a left-handed batsman and an off-spinner is always a treat to watch, as the offie usually manages to disturb the southpaw more than any other bowler. The only proper left-handed batsman on the Indian side, Shikhar Dhawan, has been in tremendous form for some time now. Add to the fact that Dhawan has a love affair with English conditions, and India have the best prototype of dismantling the English bowling.
However, it won't be an easy task for Shikhar, as England's only off-spinner in Moeen Ali has also been in stunning form as of late. As evident from the recently concluded ODI series against Australia, Ali is more than capable of tormenting even the best of left-handed batsmen by forcing them to take the risk of hitting the conventional off-spin. It would be a tough challenge for Shikhar to go past Ali and lay the foundation for India's victories.
Virat Kohli vs Adil Rashid
There is clearly no better batsman in the whole world than the Indian Skipper. In the last 18 months, Virat Kohli has scored heavily across all corners of the world and against the fiercest and smartest of bowlers. However, Kohli had a horrendous run the last time he visited England, something that disturbs him even tills this date and something that he will be looking to bury on this tour.
The main opposition standing in his way - England's premier leg-spinner Adil Rashid. If Kohli's performance in IPL is taken into consideration, Kohli was highly uncomfortable against the leg spinners as he failed to understand the conventional leg spin and the wrong one.
To make the matters worse, Rashid has been on absolute fire as of late, as evident from his performance against the Australian team. Kohli is determined to bury the demons from his last tours, and, in order to do that, he must find a way to tackle Rashid's tricky deliveries.
MS Dhoni vs Liam Plunkett
Complimenting the Bumrah-Buttler battle is this contest between the Best Finisher from India and the Best Death Bowler from England - MS Dhoni v Liam Plunkett. MS Dhoni is now rejuvenated man and, ever since he left the captaincy pressure in 2017, has been on a roll in ODI cricket. Not only has he found his powers of finishing the match back, he is also scoring runs at a brisk pace in the final overs of the inning.
Just like Dhoni, the performance in last 2 years has brought a new life to the limited overs career of seasoned veteran Liam Plunkett. So good has Plunkett been for England that he was the highest wicket-taker for the team in 2017 and the fourth highest overall, most of which came during the final overs of the inning. The last 10 overs are vital for both the teams, and it will be this mouth-watering clash between these two specialists that will play a big role in deciding which team gets the upper hand at the end of the inning.