After a much-required break, India get to the ground with the intent of putting aside the results they faced since the England series last year till the Asia Cup early this year.
India will always be a force in the sub-continent and it will be interesting to find out how the team shapes up before the T20 World Cup and against England and Australia at home.
India would want to start the season with a good series victory under their belt. The only worry could be that they are a bit rusty coming off a layoff. With Sachin Tendulkar opting out of the series, the team management will have no problem in deciding on the opening pair. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were in good form in the IPL and after the rest, the two would have prepared hard for the season.
Their form and combination will be crucial for India. They had a tough time overseas and will be looking to hit form soon, although their main test will be when they travel abroad. I would like to see MS Dhoni working out an aggressive bowling combination with senior man Zaheer Khan at the helm of affairs.
Dinda's the fittest
Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda should accompany him and Dhoni should use this series to see how Dinda stands up to international cricket, as his key to success would be to get a fit bowling unit for the entire season. To me, Dinda is the fittest pacer around and the best at the death overs in the T20s.
Ashwin did not have a great series before the IPL and even during the IPL, he was not at his prime. But it's a great platform for him on these turning pitches to get the rhythm and confidence back. Also, the time has come for the management to provide opportunities to Pragyan Ojha, as he is a world-class spinner, and good left-arm spinners are handy.
India have a settled batting lineup with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Dhoni. It will be a make-or-break tour for Rohit and Manoj Tiwary. The latter has been waiting in the wings and given a chance, he could contribute with his batting, fielding and leg-spin. It is a surprise that he hasn't had a game since his hundred last year, especially in a batting unit which has struggled.
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The writer is a former India captain.