India are ranked No 2 in the ODI format and are expected to put up a better show in this series compared to what they did in the Tests © Getty Images
By R Vishal
Aug 26, 2014
There were many jibes on social media taken on Team India after the first match in Bristol was washed away without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain. The keyboard wizards went overtime spouting remarks on how the team had finally escaped a match-day without a loss or not losing half their batting order to James Anderson and co. in the first hour of play. After the abandoned first match, India and England move to Cardiff for the second One-Day International (ODI). (Read the statistical analysis of India’s ODI record in England.)
England, on the other hand would have surely been itching to take the field after putting behind a wretched 10 months, which was punctuated with one agonising defeat to another. Three Tests wins in handsome fashion, which fully exposed the Indian top order’s fallibility and inexperience in the Old Blighty came as a breath of fresh air in the English camp. ODI cricket though is a different sort of demon which needs to be treated with careful dose of muscle and finesse. It also needs a captain who can think on his feet and can manage his resources sensibly.
Earlier in the week, former England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen slammed England’s archaic approach to ODI cricket. The English continue to be stuck in a time warp, approaching ODIs with Test match approach. That was precisely the reason why a clubber like Alex Hales was drafted in the squad. The middle order does need a bit of working with tough, with too many crafters in Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Moeen Ali.
Off field, specifically backroom issues have grabbed all the major headlines for India this week. It started with skipper MS Dhoni assuring Duncan Fletcher’s position in the camp, hailing him as the boss. This seems to have irked Board of Cricket for Cricket in India (BCCI). The new team director, Ravi Shastri stated that it was infact Dhoni, not Fletcher who is the boss. With crushing defeats in away Tests notwithstanding, the team yet again had to fight controversy brewing behind the scenes.
India are world champions for a reason and need to stamp their authority when they step out in Wales. Recently though, the team has struggled in ODIs away from home too. England will hold all the aces but India’s chasing prowess, vibrancy and Dhoni’s expertise in the shorter formats and keeping unwanted issues at bay is not something that can be discounted.
England: Alastair Cook (c), Alex Hales, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Eoin Morgan, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, James Tredwell, Jos Buttler (wk).
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Stuart Binny.
Time: 10:30 GMT | 15:00 IST
Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)