Why India Are the Favourites for T20, ODI Series in England
India are certainly the stronger team ahead of the India-England T20 and ODI series.
After conquering the shorter-formats in South Africa, the Men in Blue are certainly high on confidence going into the three-match T20 and ODI series in England that begins on Tuesday, 3 July.
India won their first-ever bilateral series in South Africa when they won the ODI series 6-1 earlier this year, but they have a much better record in England. Nobody can forget the miracle victory made possible by Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif in the 2002 NatWest series final.
In the last five years, the white ball has stopped swinging in England. This has made the shorter formats in England only about batting. With good batting tracks available, the batsmen are able to play their strokes through the line. In the recently concluded Australia-England ODI series, England posted massive totals such as 481/6 and 342/8.
But if they have a solid batting line-up in Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, India have a match-for-match (strength wise) batting line-up in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. The only question mark hovering around India is their middle order. KL Rahul, who has shown prime form through the IPL, could solve the problem if he is asked to bat at number five.
Considering the strong batting line-ups, the better bowling performance will be the difference between the two sides in the series.
Curious Case of Wrist Spinners
The Indian bowling attack has got two trump cards up their sleeve which have caused havoc against every opposition they have come across. In one-day cricket, batting teams look to build one big partnership between the 15th and 40th overs to make a perfect launching pad for the finishers to propel the team to a big score.
Here’s where Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal come into play. The spinners are mostly unleashed in the middle overs to break as many partnerships as possible.
The chinaman has taken 39 and 19 wickets in 20 ODIs and 10 T20Is, while Chahal has picked up 43 and 41 wickets in 23 ODIs and 23 T20Is. Both the spinners average around 20 or below in the shorter formats, which is a big boon for any team in the world.
The biggest positive from Kuldeep and Chahal is that they enjoy bowling in foreign conditions and not just on the dust bowls in India. The South Africans had no answer to the wrist spinners in the ODI series, earlier this year. Kuldeep took 17 wickets in the series, while Chahal bagged 16 wickets.
England have got a wrist spinner Adil Rashid in their ranks, but he hasn’t fired up the international circuit yet. He has recorded averages of 31.14 and 27.73 on ODIs and T20s.
All-Round Bowling Attack
India will certainly miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 series. It’s unfortunate that the bowler has to miss the series due to a thumb injury sustained during the first T20 against Ireland. However, India have enough back-up bowlers to do the job.
While Kuldeep and Chahal will lead the attack in the shorter formats, they will be certain to receive good starts by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Even if there is a hint of swing, Bhuvneshwar will be lethal with the new ball and Umesh Yadav showed during the IPL that he has the ability to pick up wickets in the first few overs regularly.
If the Indian team management feel they need more cushion in the death bowling department since Bumrah is unavailable, they have an option in Siddarth Kaul. The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler, who specialises in yorkers, is coming off from a fantastic IPL season. Kaul finished as the joint second highest wicket-taker with 21 wickets.
Terrific Recent Record
India have performed remarkably in their recent ODI series or competitions in England. India won the Champions Trophy in 2013 and then followed that up with a 3-1 series win in 2014. The series victory came after losing the five-match Test series 1-3.
India performed well in the 2017 Champions Trophy as well. They reached the final after losing just one match to Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, they were up against a terrific Pakistan side on the day of the final and therefore they failed to defend their title.
India have played only two T20s in England and have lost both of them. Maybe this is India’s best chance to set that record straight.
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