Can England turn the tables around in ODIs?
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
Preview of the India vs England ODI series
After the completion of the Test series, both India and England will enjoy a long break and then face off against each other in a 3-match ODI and T20 series. Talking about the ODI series, which starts on 15th January, it will be of prime importance from India’s point of view, as it will be the last series that they will play before the all-important Champions Trophy in June 2017.
How can one forget this epic one-day match between India and England in the 2011 World Cup!
Considering that there are only three matches going to be played, India will not try to experiment by bringing in any new players and will possibly play their best eleven in all the games. One can expect players like R. Ashwin, R. Jadeja, Mohammad Shami (who were rested for the New Zealand series) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to return to the side and bolster the bowling attack. What will be interesting to see that who among the other spinners will get a chance to play in the series? Jayant Yadav has done his reputation no harm in the ongoing Test series and will be the top runner for the 3rd spinner’s slot. Also, in contention are Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, who have done reasonably well in the past.
Formidable English Unit
While one can only predict what the 15-man squad will be for India, England Cricket have already announced their squads for the one-day and T20 series. Let's talk about the ODI team. Coming back to the side are Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan – both of whom opted out of the Bangladesh Tour due to security concerns – and Joe Root (who again was rested). The introduction of Hales back to the top of the order, along with Jason Roy, and that of Root and Morgan in the middle order already looks like a deadly combination. And to follow them are the dangerous and destructive players, in Buttler, Bairstow and Stokes, who can tear apart any bowling attack on any given day.
And the lineup doesn’t end here. There are still two very good all-rounders left to come, who can be handy with both bat and ball in their hands. I am talking about Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes. Along with Stokes, these three make a terrific trio, which is like a dream combination to have for any captain in his team.
The bowling attack, too, packs a punch. Apart from Woakes and Ali, they have got bowlers like Jake Ball, David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid up their sleeves. All of them quite different from one another and brings variety to the table. However, the only shortcoming for this bowling unit is the relative lack of experience of bowling in the subcontinents, especially in India. In fact, the only bowler, who was a part of the 2012 squad that toured India is Chris Woakes. Now, Woakes had a terrific 2016 and has led the England bowling attack in the absence of Broad and Anderson. The visitors will hope that the seamer continues his impressive form in the upcoming year and contribute to his team’s success, not only with the ball, but also with the bat. Another bowler to watch out for is Adil Rashid. He has been England’s top performer in the Test series and has grown in leaps and bounds as a leg-spinner. He is also the highest wicket-taker for them in the ODIs this year.
India's batting order dilemma
To face such an imposing bowling attack, one needs to have a strong and steady batting lineup. India’s recent history suggests that although they have capable and talented batsmen in their ranks, they still haven't been able to find uniformity in the middle-order. There lies a huge question mark around who will be India’s permanent no. 5, 6 and 7 in the upcoming series and tournaments? With Dhoni deciding to come at 4, India has got options in the form of Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya/Axar Patel.
Out of the above 4, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya failed to make an impression with the bat in the last series and for India to do well; they will need contributions from these youngsters on a consistent basis. Axar did play some useful knocks and contributed with the ball too, but he will need to fight out for his place (with Jayant Yadav and Amit Mishra) once Jadeja comes back.
If India’s middle-order dilemma wasn’t enough, they will now also have to find out a new opening pair as both, Rahane and Rohit, at present are injured. One opener can be KL Rahul, who missed out on the New Zealand series due to injury. But who will open with him that has to be seen. Mandeep Singh can be an option and if neither Rahane nor Rohit recovers on time, one can see him making his debut.
There have been very few times, in my opinion, where India’s bowling unit looks much better than the batting. On one hand, it is a good sign for India’s future, but on the other hand, the conundrum surrounding India’s batting order also worries me as a Team India’s supporter.
England's best chance
To end it, I would like to say (although I hate it) that England looks a much more balanced and settled unit as compared to India. And if the English Men play to their strengths, they have the potential to upset the hosts on their own turf. If that happens, it will be England's first ODI series victory, since 1984/85, on the Indian soil.
Schedule of the India vs England One-day series:
|15th Jan||1st ODI||Pune||2:30 PM (IST)|
|19th Jan||2nd ODI||Cuttack||2:30 PM (IST)|
|22nd Jan||3rd ODI||Kolkata||2:30 PM (IST)|
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