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England vs India 2018, ODI series: Clash of the best in business

403   //    11 Jul 2018, 04:24 IST

England v India - 3rd Vitality International T20

Flashy, fit, competitive, swashbuckling, and ranked number one and two respectively in the ICC rankings; England and India are all set to lock horns in the three-match ODI series from Thursday. The Men in Blue have hitherto been the better side in the 50-over format, but the English are now a side with adequate firepower and optimum balance. They usurped the numero uno spot after whitewashing Australia 5-0.

The last time England peaked in the one-day game was during the heyday of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, and co., led by a spirited Michael Vaughan. Following a superior run in 2004-05, pickings have been thin for the England team.

The present team, however, appears to be liberated like never before, right from the front-leg-clearing openers to the bowlers for whom the 50 overs format seems to be well suited. Gone are the days when the England top order looked ambivalent, the middle order rigid, and the bowling half-baked.

Backed by a composed captain in Eoin Morgan, the English team has won 38 matches out of the 50 played in the last 30 months (excluding the Champions Trophy). The new English side is on course to provide quality cricket in the upcoming matches.

The Asian giants led by exuberant Virat Kohli have been enjoying an extended period of consistency. The aggressive leader has given enough signs to the cricketing world that he means business. The Men in Blue have achieved tremendous success under Kohli’s leadership who has a win percentage of 79.16 as captain in ODIs. With a decent bowling attack and an excellent batting line-up, the Indian team will prove to be a tough nut to crack for the English side.

Both the teams have been on a winning spree in the last two years. However, what strikes is the attitude, the right level of tactical intensity. Both the teams field at least 8-9 players with uncluttered attacking talent capable of winning matches on their own.

More than 2 to 3 teams simultaneously performing consistently is a rare sight in ODI cricket; over the last 10-15 years, the Aussies have often held the top position with South Africa and India giving them a fight.

With New Zealand continuing the legacy of McCullum and Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy, the ODI competition is shaping up to be a competitive format. It would not be inaccurate to suggest that ODI cricket is alive and heading in the right direction. The richly textured format can provide captivating and entertaining cricket which could be the forte heading into the 2019 World Cup and beyond.

Who do you think will win the ODI series between England and India? Tell us in the comments below!

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