India will be on a tour of four tests, one T20 and five one-dayers against the mighty England side at their own backyard. England has been a very challenging side for decades now and this time is no different. Sitting at the third position, mere 10 points behind India, England would be looking to beat the visitors rather convincingly.
England have won their last five Test series and the latest coming against Sri Lanka recently, previous month. The England captain, Andrew Strauss, who is still adjusting to his role as a team leader, has been successful with the team so far, who have been performing rather well. The team is high on energy and confidence and would be looking to dethrone the Indian side from the top test spot.
Andrew Strauss has said that he considers the series against India to be at par with the Ashes and that the home advantage is what will help England upset India. He knows that the Indian side is full of young and talented players and the way they have performed in the past in England, means that the home side has to play very well to come out on top. He seems unsure of how the series will shape up, but remains optimistic about the outcome for the home side.
India on the other hand, even after winning the test against the Windies in their backyard, have still not recovered from the heavy criticism about the way MS Dhoni has let go of an easy win in the third test. If this is the attitude carried out by the Indian side it would be difficult for them to remain at the top spot for long. To beat England, Dhoni and his men, have to show more character and play more aggressive cricket.
The best part of the Indian side remains their batting, with the bowling department still looking a bit doubtful. Dravid and Laxman look to be back in form with a significant contribution in the recent test win. Sachin Tendulkar and Gautham Gambhir will be all set to play after a good deal of rest. Virender Sehwag’s big booming shots will be missed as he will not be available for the tour due to his injured shoulder, requiring him to undergo surgery.
The bowlers to an extent have proved their worth in the Caribbean but England will be a whole new story. Ishant Sharma has been at his best and it would be good if he gets a chance to have a go at the England batting order. His height and ability to hit the deck hard is what will be needed in the bouncy pitches of England. With him, the sphere head of Indian bowling, Zaheer Khan is expected to make a comeback which will give some strength to Indian bowling attack.
For Dhoni, as a captain, this tour will be the first big challenge after his glorious World Cup triumph. Dhoni has set high standards for himself by having a high winning percentage and he will have to keep up the tough job in this series as well.
The first Test on 21st July will be a special one as the teams will be playing their 100th test match against each other and not only that, it will be the 2000th Test in the history of cricket.