Related Link : India’s tour of England
India open their England tour today with a four-day match against County Champions Sussex at Hove. It will be an important game for the Indians as the opposition has some quality batting and bowling that can test the Indians. In the past, India were either hit low by losing against counties or got their morale boosted with a win in warm up matches ahead of a Test Match. With this match being a four-day contest, a result is more than likely with the wicket and conditions expected to be sportive. However, there has been a bit of rain in the last few days but then it is like that in England with the weather always fickle.
Their is lot of experience in the Indian batting order. Wasim Jaffer found success in the last England tour which was in 2002. His other two opening batsmen – Dinesh Karthik and Gautam Gambhir do not have any experience though in England. It will be most likely that India would be persisting with the opening combination of Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik. The likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly have hell lot of experience and success having played plenty of cricket in this part of the world which also includes their county stints. Yuvraj Singh is yet to play a Test here but he has played ODIs and also had a stint with Yorkshire. Now MS Dhoni is the man landing in England for the first time to play for India, he will have his moments for sure.
The batting for India is in safe hands even though Virender Sehwag’s aggression will be missed at the top. The tour of Ireland has helped the batsmen to discipline themselves in sticking onto the wicket when the conditions have aided swing and seam bowling. The Indian bowling looks extremely fresh which is spearheaded by Zaheer Khan. There is Anil Kumble who would be looking to have a wonderful time in what could be his last tour of England. He will be the man responsible with cutting down the partnerships in the middle overs when the pacers have done their job. India has a potent pace attack with Sreesanth, R.P.Singh and Ranadeb Bose, all of them great movers of the cricket ball. There is another bowler called Ishant Sharma, who has got good pace but hasn’t really impressed in getting the ball to deviate, something he has to work upon seriously.
The opponents for India in this match have three world class performers in leggie Mushtaq Ahmed, offie Saqlain Mushtaq and then Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, a dangerous bowler on his day. Saqlain Mushtaq for the record has taken a smashing four five-wicket hauls against India in as many Test Matches! The batting for Sussex will be led by former Zimbabwean batsman Murray Goodwin, one of the best batsmen after Andy Flower for Zimbabwe. The England regular wicket keeper Matt Prior will get a taste of the Indian bowlers as well before the Test Series. India will be going into the first test at Lord’s on 19th with one more warm up game against England Lions at Chelmsford.
Sussex Squad : Chris Adams (Captain), Murray Goodwin, Richard Montogerie, Andy Hodd, Carl Hopkinson, James Kirtley, Jason Lewry, Chris Liddle, Robin Martin-Jenkins, Chris Nash, Matt Prior (Wicket Keeper), Ollie Rayner, Thomas Smith, Michael Thorney, Kuke Wright, Michael Yardy, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan
Indian Squad : Rahul Dravid (Captain), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (Wicket Keeper), Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Wasim Jaffer, Anil Kumble, Ranadeb Bose, Ishant Sharma