The Indian test cricket team has undergone massive changes recently, that starting with M.S Dhoni retiring from test cricket, leaving the young and enigmatic Virat Kohli in charge of the team. Their current opponents, England, have also undergone some turbulent times and the current England coach Trevor Bayliss is trying to steady the ship and put the team in the right direction. Thus, the prospect of England playing against India seems pretty exciting but it would be fair to say that India have the upper hand. Their current form seems to imply that they look invincible at home with Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli (who can leave him out?) performing with the bat and the pair of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja not giving visiting batsmen any breathing space. Their performance against a rather drab looking New Zealand was nothing short of phenomenal and many people will be expecting a similar feat against the English side. However, focusing on the Englishmen, the story is completely different. While India showed resolute determination and some Ashwin magic to help them humiliate the New Zealand’s discipline, Alastair Cook and his men struggled against Bangladesh.
Another key area of competition for every avid cricket fan will be the rivalry of runs between, you guessed it, Joe Root and Virat Kohli. Now, everyone who understands cricket knows that these two sublime (and I cannot stress enough) cricketers that have much in common. Through much research, I have found that even though statistically Root is a better test player, Kohli is the more reliable batsman who exudes class in every shot. But, it cannot be argued that both of them can be listed among the best of modern batsmen alongside David Warner and Kane Williamson. Now, while writing this the first match has already taken place and both these players have shown their exuberant class in the middle by scoring a century each and Kohli helping save the match with an unbeaten 49 as it ended in a competitive draw.
Even though the English side have came back strongly from their disappointment in Bangladesh, India still can grab the series with Virat Kohli and his team learning vital lessons on how not to take England for granted and will be willing to strike back. Honestly, it would not be a surprise now to see Virat Kohli scoring a century in every match during the series. It would require another huge effort from England to keep the hosts at bay and an even bigger one to win the series. But, with Anderson recovering from his injury, it would be interesting to see how the Indian batsman can cope with his pace.
More than that England should focus on getting their spinners back on track with the sub-continent pitch more suitable for spin bowlers than the fast ones. Another key issue for the English team is to figure out how they can cope with Ashwin who was surprisingly subdued in the first match and will be looking to come back stronger during the rest of the series. But overall, this series will be a competition between a team who will look to solidify the their status as the best in the world and another who want to make a statement and regain their place at test cricket’s top table.