London, July 18: It"s pitted to be the Test series of the year. India in England. A summer cricketing fiends the world over ( there are Indians everywhere) await for what should be a scrumptious few weeks of Test cricket. India are on top of the Test world and England are gnawing at their feet to get to the coveted spot. This Test series will be England"s chance to beat India by a margin of two Tests and be crowned the new number ones. But only if the Indians let their guard down. A situation which a million hearts will hope against.
The games have begun. That is, the mental games. The new coach of Team India Duncan Fletcher coached the English team from 1999 to 2007 taking them on a journey that yielded positive results. Interestingly, the current England captain holds Fletcher in high regard as he was instrumental in Strauss"s upward career graph. Theirs is a connect that transcends boundaries. For all practical purposes though this time around, Fletcher will be in the opposition camp and Strauss will know that too well. Mutual respect remains the cornerstone of their bond.
The Indians are like nomads having left home a while ago and on the cricket caravan for weeks now. From the hot and sultry exotic Caribbean locales to the ever fickle weather of England. The tracks will be different, the atmosphere will feel much more like home, and more than anything else, this series will be India"s challenge. The challenge to remain number one in the format that matters the most.
Both teams have their squads packed with potential. England, the stronger bowling unit, India - more the batting powerhouse. All on paper for now, as it remains to be see just how the battles on the 22 yard pitch will unfold. Records will be broken, milestones will be achieved. This is the series packed with enormous possibilities.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys are all spruced up. Even though the tour game was nothing to go by for the visitors, the real Test awaits them at Lord"s. MS to many, Mahi to some and Dhoni to the majority, is India"s most alluring leader. Both on and off the field this man exudes charm. A winning record as captain further whets his appeal. And he knows that the English Test will be one that will only go to cement his unflappable reputation further.
The 2000th Test match ever. The 100th between Englandand India. Lord"s 21st July 2011, will be one historical day for cricket. Here"s hoping that the two sides test each other brilliantly, to the delight of millions the world over.
Let the Test begin.