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72 days since their first game of cricket in India and after losing both the ODI and the test series, England finally registered a win on the board in the final ODI to salvage some pride. The following statement will therefore come as a bit of a shock: England will fancy their chances in the T20s against India.
Yes, that’s right. Historically India struggled in tests and were dominant at limited overs cricket in the sub-continent, while England was primarily a test-playing nation. The recent story is different. India has grown to be a formidable Test side at home while England (with their batting firepower) are now an excellent T20 side. Having cruised to the World T20 finals less than a year ago, England start the T20 series as favourites.
In recent T20 outings, however, both sides have seen mixed results. India’s second string team scraped through 2-1 against Zimbabwe and lost to the West Indies either side of that series, once in the US and once in the World T20 semi final. England, too, have won just 1 of their last 3 games, beating Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in between losing to the Windies in the World T20 final, and to Pakistan by 9 wickets in September.
Ahead of the three match T20 series between India and England that kicks off Thursday, here are 3 things the 1 Tip 1 Hand Team is watching closely:
India’s Bowling Selection
Ashwin and Jadeja were the bowling allrounders for Team India at #8 and #9 through the World T20, but have now been rested for the England series in light of the upcoming Australia test series. Instead, Mishra and Rasool have made the squad. Chahal, too, might get another look on the back of strong IPL performances, despite a weak showing against Zimbabwe. India’s batting order from #7 through to #11 for the first T20 might look like Pandya, Mishra, Chahal, Bumrah and Kumar – with Nehra swapping in if India want to go with pace instead of spin.
With three back-to-back fifties in the ODIs, Roy has become a key figure in England’s top order. His blistering 78 off just 44 balls against New Zealand in the semi-finals of the World T20 will be remembered by England fans for years to come and he will relish the opportunity to make hay on a batsman-friendly Kanpur pitch.
The IPL Auction
The 2017 IPL auction lands on Feb 4th, just three days after the final T20 and Roy will be just one of the names looking for a strong series to set him up for a high price at the IPL auction. As of 2016, Buttler and Morgan are the only English players in the IPL but Roy and Stokes will be looking to get picked up in 2017. Joe Root has opted out and 14 of the 15 players in the Indian squad have been retained by their franchises, leaving Parvez Rasool as the only Indian player looking to make his mark.
The first T20I between India and England kicks off in Kanpur on Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017 at 4.30pm IST/11 am GMT. Remember to subscribe to all our blog posts here.