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England’s A game unlikely to stop Indian cricket team’s batting big guns

India are brimming with confidence after triumphs in the South Africa limited-overs series, Nidahas Trophy T20 series in Sri Lanka and IPL. And the later part of English summer looks suited for bat to dominate the ball.

cricket Updated: Jun 30, 2018 10:26 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs England,Indian cricket team,Virat Kohli
India decimated Ireland in their two-match T20 series ahead of the England tour. (REUTERS)

Trumped by England in the limited-overs series, Australia’s new coach Justin Langer was unusually gushing about the old enemy.

“I have been blown away by how well England are playing… they’re all in good form, they’re at the peak of their powers right now and we’ve come up against them,” he said.

“They have the core together and they take confidence from it,” he added, after his depleted team was swept aside 5-0 in ODIs and in the one-off T20. England feel they have set a marker for the 2019 World Cup at home.

Virat Kohli’s India though could shake that optimism. The skipper announced plans to shuffle the batting order in the three T20s and ODIs starting July 3.

READ | Virat Kohli says Indian cricket team will experiment a lot in next four T20s

“Even in the next few T20 games, even in England, we will look to throw in guys and surprise the opposition,” said Kohli, in what could be a warning to the No 1 ranked team that India would be a different ball game, especially in batting.

IPL BAROMETER

India are brimming with confidence after triumphs in the South Africa limited-overs series, Nidahas Trophy T20 series in Sri Lanka and IPL. And the later part of English summer looks suited for bat to dominate the ball.

The IPL factor first. Almost all India batsmen have landed in England in excellent form with the skipper having shaken off a neck injury.

READ | Jos Buttler underlines IPL’s positive influence on England cricket

Kohli (530 runs) and Shikhar Dhawan (497) had a great run in IPL while KL Rahul (659) stood out with his explosive batting for Kings XI Punjab, finishing third in the scoring charts this season, and he could be at the heart of the ‘shuffling’ plan.

The kind of form he is in, Rahul will be tough to stop, be it pace and spin.

KOHLI’S AGENDA

Kohli, with 35 ODI centuries, only has one against England on their turf. Since that 107 at Cardiff in 2011, he has not managed a fifty in five outings.

England pacers are likely to face a batting unit way stronger than Australia. And even if they find early success due to the two new balls, Kohli will loom large.

READ | Clinical India humiliate Ireland by 143 runs for biggest T20 win

The India skipper’s appetite for runs has only grown despite his heavy workload. He lorded over South Africa, hitting three centuries. Kohli topped the charts with 538 runs at 186.

Rohit and Shikhar too hit centuries, showing India can dominate overseas as a unit. Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey (T20s) and Shreyas Iyer (ODIs) pushing for middle-order slots add to the depth.

FINISHER DHONI

MS Dhoni regaining his finishing touch while leading Chennai Super Kings to IPL triumph will be another aspect.

His 455 runs, nine unbeaten innings and a strike rate of 150.66 has set it up for Dhoni to seal the spot for the 2019 World Cup early with Dinesh Karthik breathing down his neck.

India batting deep could also blunt England’s spinners. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid shared 24 wickets against Australia. The India batsmen, on the other hand, may target them.

First Published: Jun 30, 2018 08:40 IST