With the ICC 2019 World Cup slotted to take place England next year, the limited overs series offers India a chance for a dress rehearsal before the World Cup.
India’s tour to the United Kingdom has more or less gone according to what they would have planned. After blowing away Ireland in a couple of games, Virat Kohli and his men clinched the T20I series against England by a margin of 2-1. In the next chapter of the highly anticipated tour, India takes on England in a three-match ODI series with the first encounter on Thursday at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The 2019 ICC World Cup is slotted to take place in England next year, and thus the limited overs series offers India a chance for a dress rehearsal before the World Cup. Both the teams have been in brilliant form in the ODI format and hence picking a favourite will be a tough ask. In the recently concluded series against Australia, England thrashed Kangaroos 5-0. India, on the other hand, have been equally dominant in the 50-overs format winning 27 ODIs since June last year.
Since the 2015 World Cup, England have won 46 out of 69 ODIs and this speaks volumes about their dominance. With the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan in the line-up, this English side bears a formidable look. However, countering longer-spells by the wrist spinners will continue to be a challenge for the Englishmen. Whether Merlyn- the bowling machine comes to their rescue remains to be seen. The bowling is the weaker part of this England team. This was evident in the T20s where India chased down almost 200 and hence they will fancy their chances against this English bowling line-up in the ODI series.
India must address their conundrum of whom to bat at number four. The T20 series showed that skipper Kohli looks like the best bet with KL Rahul at four. One aspect that may worry the think tank is the form of Shikhar Dhawan, who has so far struggled to make a mark on the tour. Wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will continue to be the main threat after troubling the Englishmen in the T20s. India have a well-rounded side and if they can carry their form from the T20s into the ODIs then there is no reason why they can’t eke out another series win.
While the ground at Trent Bridge does not boast of high average first and second innings scores. The last time an ODI was played on this ground England notched up 481/6 against Australia. The highest chased total on this ground was also by England when they scored 350/3 against the Kiwis. With the game being an afternoon fixture, temperatures are expected to hover around 23 degree Celsius. There is no forecast of rain.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shreyas Iyer, Siddarth Kaul, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
England: Eoin Morgan (C), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Jake Ball, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Mark Wood.