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India’s next challenge the ‘Swingy’ England – The first series in WTC Cycle to kick off in Nottingham!

Virat Kohli’s men are all set to take on the favourites of England in the five test match series starting tomorrow at Nottingham. Indian test team under the leadership of Virat Kohli has achieved some of the greatest test victories. Even without Virat, the team was able to defeat the mighty Aussies in early 2021. All thanks to the extremely talented team and the professionalism that the team is showing in terms of working hard on and off the pitch. But all was not well with the team in the World Test Championship Final 2021 against the Kiwis. India lost the final to many of the expert’s surprise. Thus, not so great memories for India at Southampton. Good or bad, India isn’t playing England at Southampton in this 5-match series.  Here’s the schedule

  • 1st test – 4th Aug to 8th Aug – Nottingham
  • 2nd test – 12th Aug to 17th Aug – London
  • 3rd test – 24th Aug to 28th Aug – Leeds
  • 4th test – 2nd Sep to 6th Aug – London
  • 5th test – 10th Sep to 14th Aug – Manchester

Forget the schedule… Can India complete the much-wanted series win against the English in England?

Without any hesitation and conditions, in my opinion, the answer is Yes. For any team to win the match, the team batting should be strong and bowling must be lethal.  In both departments, India is ahead of the young, inexperienced England team. When you look at the batting, India did face injuries which left out Shubman Gill for the entire series and Mayank Agarwal for the 1st test. So, the vacant opening slot along with Rohit Sharma will be going to KL Rahul. He played an excellent inning in the warm-up against the County XI. The middle-order is rock solid with Virat, Pujara, Rahane and Vihari if required. Let’s not forget the versatile and volatile ‘Pant’ who can smash the ball out of the park with ease.

Bowling is equally equipped with the skill and more importantly the determination to pick up the 20 wickets. A right attitude is visible in the team’s body language. Whereas the England bowling lineup is a little old and did not look in great touch against the New Zealand team. The advantage in bowling remains with the English due to the home advantage and the conditions. But then the batting seems to be very naïve. The team will miss the likes of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. More importantly, the batting will struggle if they don’t hold their nerve and control their shot selection. Of course, the same applies to the Indian team.

Is Trent Bridge the right venue to start for Team India? Some stats between India vs England…

  • Total number of matches played: 126
  • Matches won by ENG: 48
  • Matches won by IND: 29
  • Matched played in England: 62 (ENG 34, IND 7)
  • Matches played in India: 64 (ENG 14, IND 22)

An almost equal number of matches are being played in both the countries and the home team has the advantage. That’s not a surprise at all. But for tomorrow, India has played England at Nottingham 14 times, losing 4 times & winning 4 times. The match ended in a draw for 6 times.

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Thus comparing to all the other venues, Nottingham seems to be a perfect place for India to start their Test Series. Coming to England is never easy and winning matches is much more difficult. India is just about confident to erase the horrors of 2014 and do a bit better than 2018 to clinch the series.

My predictions for India’s tour to England 2021!

For any home team, there is always the advantage of pitches, conditions and practice. The same advantage is enjoyed by England as well, but will they be able to execute their plans on the field?

That aspect is pushing me towards India’s series victory in England after 14 years. Archer, Stokes and Woakes missing in the English team is a big bonus for India and we have to capitalise on that. Keeping all this in mind, I am looking at a scoreline of 2-1 or 3-1 in favour of India. There is always a probability of rain-affected matches when you play in England, especially the last test at Manchester.

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Virat Kohli is all geared and hopefully, he will score his first international century after 2019 in the coming series. Rishab Pant, R Ashwin and Jadeja will be crucial for the team’s success. To say the least, Rohit Sharma runs will change the fate of the game, either in India’s direction or England. A scoreline of 3-1 in the favor of India seems 50% probable, 2-1 in favour of India a 20% probability and 2-2 or 1-2 in favour of England takes 30% probability. A month and a half white-ball cricket await to treat us with something extravagant. Let us witness the battle of the best starting tomorrow and cheer for our team India!

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