India look to bury the past and turn a new page in England
Devoid of experience but propped up by a confident bunch of youngsters, India would be looking to wipe off the past scars and reverse their poor overseas record when they take on England in a five-Test series starting on Wednesday.
It is a great opportunity for a young visiting side as they play five back-to-back Tests in this hectic 42-day series. The next four Tests will be played at London (Lord’s), Southampton, Manchester and London again (The Oval).
Under MS Dhoni, India’s last overseas Test win had come against the West Indies at Kingston in June 2011.
That, however, isn’t the only fact hurting Indian cricket. Their Test form against England has really seen a downward curve in the last two encounters.
However, things have changed a lot for the hosts since then. Their current Test squad bears a dissimilar look to the ones that dismantled India.
Cricketers who really shone in those encounters are either suffering from poor form or fatigue – Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad, James Anderson – while some – Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott – have vanished from the scene altogether.
Swann’s absence is hurting England because they now have to play an additional seam bowler while off-setting the spin duties to Moeen Ali, a move that hasn’t invoked much confidence.
It means additional burden on their primary medium pacers, Anderson and Broad. But if the recent trend of placid wickets – like the ones at both Lord’s and Headingley in the recent first home series-loss to Sri Lanka – continues, the hosts will find that taking 20 wickets will not be an easy proposition.
Bowlers need the cushion of runs to take wickets in Test cricket and Cook’s form is the great worry herein.
England are undergoing a massive transition at this moment and five Tests is ample opportunity for any side looking for a revenge. If there is an R-word this Indian team is looking for, however, then it is redemption. The 18-man squad bears a completely different look to the one that toured in 2011 or played at home in 2012-13.
Only Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma played here three summers ago, while the others who stepped into the team during the latter series were taking a first step in their respective international careers.
It provides an opportunity to break away from the past and build for the future, signalling an end to the long and painful transition