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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

India tour starts in England later this week

The Indians have still not played their last day in the Caribbean at the time of writing this post. They start their tour in UK on the 15th with a tour match - 5 days to move across multiple time-zones and much tougher opposition. The Indian team composition will also differ (6 changes from the one that is playing West Indies).

Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir will be the prominent reinforcements to the Indian team. Virender Sehwag will be available from the second test onwards - Abhinav Mukund will play the role of an opener in the first test after performing his role to the best abilities. Dravid, Laxman and Sachin will be the strong middle-order that can take on any team in any conditions. They will be probably playing their last series in England and definitely looking forward to a fitting farewell. Suresh Raina has shown that he has got over his earlier weakness against the short ball by scoring fifties in this series. The inclusion of Yuvraj Singh is a good option to have but will he be present in the playing eleven? Very unlikely.  

The bowlers on the other hand will get a boost with the return of Zaheer Khan. The best left-handed bowler in the business today, Zaheer will provide the guidance to the rest of the pace bowlers who must have been tired after the latest test series. How quickly the likes of Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar recover from the travel and test match rigors remains to be seen. Ishant has come of age in the WI series and he will be raring to go. Praveen Kumar showed that he can be an asset in the test match scenario just like the ODIs. Add Sreesanth and Munaf Patel to the mix and you have a world-class combination that the English team management will be worried about. W Saha and Amit Mishra might be the journeymen in the tour who will play the tour matches but will do no more duties in the test matches other than carrying drinks (unless a severe injury puts out the keeper or spinner).

Leading this team from the front will be the best captain of India (even better than the successful Sourav Ganguly) - MS Dhoni. He has already toured the Old Blighty (under the captaincy of Anil Kumble) earlier and with the company of Duncan Fletcher must be ready with the strategy to lead his team to victory in the series against the Andys (Flower and Strauss). He showed glimpses of his batting form while his captaincy with the beleaguered team has been brilliant and spotless as ever.

My take on the test series - an Indian win (1-0) or a drawn series (1-1).      
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