The Indian summer is here! As Wimbledon came to an epic, five-set climax, and the football World Cup has gone to Germany, cricket is ready to take the centre stage.
After last year’s amazing Champions Trophy win and the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the hosts in 2011, India will have mixed feelings on returning to England.
Ahead of us lies a three-month tour involving five test matches, five one-day internationals and one twenty20. Three years ago, India failed to win a single match – let’s hope this series is a little closer.
James Anderson vs Shikhar Dhawan
Still England’s best bowler, Anderson will be the biggest threat to the Indians in swinging conditions or not. The flamboyant Delhi opener, Shikhar Dhawan is known for his attacking style. Expect runs or wickets – it certainly won’t be boring.
Stuart Broad Vs Virat Kohli
As their respective team’s prima donnas, both possess immense talent and super-sized egos. The young Kohli, on his first full tour of England, is one of the world’s finest batsmen and will look to cement this status. Expect ‘verbals’ as these two aggressive players come head to head.
Alistair Cook Vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Never before has Cook faced as much criticism. His batting has also struggled, and he has failed to score a century in his last 24 innings. Kumar, the young fast-bowler can swing the ball both ways and will be the big threat to the England captain with the new ball. Expect India to get after the weary Cook.
Moeen Ali Vs Mahendra Singh Dhoni
The Worcestershire man scored a brilliant maiden century in a losing cause against Sri Lanka; however, it will be his spin bowling, which will come under pressure from the masters of spin. Captain Dhoni, a brutal batsman, may struggle against the quicks but expect him to hammer a few sixes against Ali. I’d be surprised not to see Ali’s spin punished to all corners of the ground by the Indian batsmen.
Under the microscope: Captaincy
Both Cook’s and Dhoni’s captaincies will be under close scrutiny. Cook has been labelled ‘boring’ and ‘tactically inept’. Dhoni – ‘defensive’ and ‘allows the game to drift’. A series loss for either captain could result in a sacking.
It pains me to say this, but I can only see one winner and that’s England. India’s inability to take 20 wickets will see them struggle in key moments. Over a five match series, England will prove too strong. It’ll be 3-1 or 3-0.
If you can’t get tickets you’ll be able to follow the action live on Sky Sports with highlights on Channel 5.
Enjoy the series!