India’s Tour of England 2014, 1st Test preview: India looks to gain early advantage over struggling hosts

MS Dhoni’s Indian team will take their guard against the English team at Nottingham with the images of the result of the 2011 test series in the minds and hoping to overcome history with a strong and memorable performance.

When India was in their backyard the last time around, the English team played all over the Indians and managed to pull off a whitewash, a result that the Indian team suffered in 2 successive oversea’s series. It is pretty evident that things have changed considerably in the past three years, and the Indian team that is touring the British Isles this time around seems to be a lot more comfortable against pace, bounce and swing than the team that toured the last time around.

England on the other hand is not the same side that the Indians faced in 2011. With some major names out of the side with a variety of reasons from both the batting and bowling line ups, the balance of the team is in doubts. Although their performance against the Lankans was gritty to be honest, they did manage to lose that series after giving it their all. With a series lost against the Lankans for the first time in years and their captain under the scrutiny of both the press and the people, things don’t look to promising for the English side.

This might just be the best opportunity this young Indian team will get to prove their metal in foreign condition. On the two tours previous tours of South Africa and New Zealand, the batsmen have looked at bay and have been more than comfortable facing whatever the opposition pace attack had to offer.

On the other hand the Indian bowling attack hasn’t bowled badly either and has managed to tilt the advantage in their favor on more than one occasion. Be it the series in South Africa or the New Zealand tour, the bowlers have been more than resourceful, especially the pace attack. The onus though would lie on Ishant Sharma considering that he is the senior bowler in the team now and has toured the United Kingdom previously.

Now considering the fact that the two departments involved have not done badly in the two previous tours, the onus falls on the Indian Captain and his decisions. On two different occasions before, Dhoni has failed to capitalize on the chance that has been created by the team and has not been able to make aggressive decisions and go for it when it matters the most. He would be looking to settle the score with the English team.

England on the other hand will be looking to comeback and also answer their critics with a strong comeback after the series loss against the Lankans. Alastair Cook has come under the media scanner on various occasions due to his in adaptive captaincy. But one would also have to look at the fact that if there is anyone who can keep India at bay it is  the English Captain.

All in all the match promises to be exciting if nothing else. It will be two resurgent teams facing each other to come at top at the end.