London, July 21: The No. 1 ranked team in the world India, is all set to take on No.3 England in what promises to be the most scintillating and crowd-drawing series of the summer. The side from the sub-continent are buoyant from a fruitful series against the West Indies, which incidentally marks the first time they have come away from the Caribbean with winning both the one-day and Test series. England, similarly have registered a double-victory over Sri Lanka.
England have proved that they can be pretty insurmountable on home soil. Out of the 48 times India has played these hosts, the latter has come out tops 23 times, and has drawn India on 20 occasions, conceding victory to the visitors in all of 5 Tests.
The spotlight will fall on the Indian batsmen in the upcoming series. With Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh bringing a wealth of experience as they return to the fold, India may look like a pretty invincible side. But a lot will depend on how quickly these four adapt to English conditions.
After all, this quartet has been out of action for over a month, with either injury or fatigue keeping them away from the Caribbean tour. An additional concern is whether new-comer Abhinav Mukund will jell with his seniors, especially Gambhir with whom he will be opening the innings.
The Windies' tour demonstrated that the Indian pace attack has hit a purple patch, especially Ishant Sharma who emerged as the top wicket taker. The Indian fan will hope that he remains on song, while Praveen Kumar keeps up his deceptive swing and Munaf Patel, his tight line. But all eyes will be on pace spearhead Zaheer Khan to see how rapidly he slips into rhythm.
Ultimately, a bulk of the onus will fall on captain M S Dhoni who will want to keep his no-loss record in Test series from 2008 intact. One hopes he will marshal his troops with the same astuteness and shrewdness that he is known for.