England vs India 2018: India’s best chance to win in England
This July, it will be a cricket fest for the Indian fans as Men in Blue will take on England in their own backyard. When India plays in England against the home side it produces exciting, thrilling and riveting contests for the cricket fans around the world. Team India start off their campaign with limited overs (T20Is and ODIs) cricket, then they will play five Test matches against England. While India has done well in coloured clothing, at the same time, they have struggled in the longer format of the game in English conditions.
Typical English condition
India hasn't done too well in their last two outings in England, particularly in Test matches. Under the captaincy of M.S. Dhoni, India lost the by 4-0 in 2011 and 3-1 in 2014. It is never easy to beat any side in their own den. The weather, nature of the pitch and the nature of the red cherry, everything is different from sub-continent. And one needs to be technically correct to perform well in challenging English condition. You have to play the new ball well both with the bat and ball to be successful in trying English condition.
Team composition of India
The Virat Kohli led Indian side is currently No.1 in ICC Test rankings. They have the potential to outclass England in the five-match Test series scheduled to start from 1st August 2018 at Edgbaston. If you look at this Indian side, they have got all bases covered, Kohli will lead the batting department along with Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, M.Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane. Likes of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneswar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Bumrah and Shami (if he is fit) will lead the Indian pace attack.
We all know, getting wickets with the new ball is really important in those conditions. Hence, Indian seamers will have to bowl particularly well with that new Duke cherry. Early wickets will set the stage for the Indian spinners to drive home the advantage. Ashwin is a far better bowler now than what he was in the previous England Tour.
Hardik Pandya can play a useful role of an all-rounder in this side. His medium-pace bowling and little cameos down the order could come in handy for the Indian team. Hardik will bring the much-required balance to the team.
It will be a litmus test for Captain Kohli. He will be itching to do well in this tour and make amends for his previous visit against the likes of Anderson and Board. Kohli had a dismal Test series in England. Jimmy Anderson was his tormentor in that series, he got Kohli in many occasions especially in the Test matches. But Kohli is at the peak of his game right now. Pundits of the game think that Kohli has an issue with the moving ball outside his off-stump. England new ball bowlers exploited that slight weakness against him in the last tour. But Kohli will definitely like to prove his critics wrong and score lots of runs in the upcoming series.
County experience of Pujara and Ishant Sharma
Pujara’s county experience will come in handy for India in the Test matches. He needs to score runs at no.3. He is a vital cog in the wheel for India in the longer format of the game. Like Pujara, Ishant Sharma also played few matches for his county side, Sussex. And performed reasonably well. Hence, Ishant will be more confident going into the Test matches.
Strength and weak points of the opposition
England, on the other hand, has great seam bowling options. But their main worry is their batting. Apart from their captain Joe Root and Jos Buttler nobody looks comfortable in the batting department. Alastair Cook is not that consistent nowadays as he used to be. Ben Stokes recent form is a cause of concern for the English team management. Stokes currently out of the England side because of injury.
They have struggled against Pakistan in recently concluded Test series. So, if India can play to their potential and kind of team that they have it won't be easy for the English side to beat them this time around. And the fact that India will play the limited overs leg first before the Test series, it will help them to get accustomed with the English condition as well. But one thing is for sure that it will be a mouth-watering clash between these two old rivals.