India’s 2011 tour of England was quite a chastening experience for Dhoni’s men. India failed to register even a single victory, losing the 4-match test series, the 5-match ODI series and the 1-match T-20 series 4-0, 3-0 and 1-0 respectively. It’s hardly surprising then that England’s tour of India is being billed as the ‘revenge’ series. The 3 month long tour includes 4 test matches, 2 T-20 matches and 5 ODI matches.
The series promises to be intense and the war of words has already commenced. India’s decision to not include regular spinners in the India A team for the warm up game with England did not please former English captain Michael Vaughan who took to Twitter to decry India’s ‘pathetic tactics’. He alleged that in order to keep the English batting line up from getting accustomed to spin,India deliberately avoided playing spinners. Sunil Gavaskar countered Vaughan’s diatribe stating that the composition of India’s team is solely the prerogative of the Indian selectors and is none of Vaughan’s business.
The 4-match test series commenced today,the 15th of November.
Kevin Pieterson returns to the English squad for the first time after his infamous row with ECB. Alastair Cook captains the English side. A lot will depend on Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, the primary spinning options for England. England’s batting order will be suspect against the Indian spinners given its relative inexperience. Kevin Pieterson is England’s most valuable player going into the series.
Tendulkar has struggled to find form recently which has led to plenty of debate on whether he should retire. If he fails to impress against England, it might well be time for the great man to retire. Another senior player, Zaheer Khan has flattered to deceive lately and India would be expecting an improved showing from him. Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh faces a fight to prove his fitness. Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are expected to excel in spinner friendly conditions and could hold the key as far as India is concerned.
Series prediction: 3-0
India will prove too strong for the visitors. Spin will be the difference.