Old Trafford, Aug 31: After being badly bruised in the recently concluded Test series, the ODI World Champions, India take on the T20 World Champions, England in a one-off T20 at the Old Trafford. Rarely has there been such an instance in cricket where all its three formats are juxtaposed in such a manner. In the end, though none of the reputation could influence the outcome, such is the nature of the format. But there surely will be an extra effort from India to resurrect some of its lost pride while England on the other hand will try to channelise their Test momentum through the T20 game into the one-day series.
India have to a certain extent, got their winning feeling back by winning the three practice matches but they would be aware that taking on English side, who currently have their tails up is a different ball game altogether. As it stands, the team will pretty much be like the one that took on Kent on Aug 26 with a minor bit of shuffle here and there.
Rahul Dravid, will in all probability make his international T20 debut which incidentally will also be his last ever. The fact that, he was the only player who came out of the humiliating Test series loss with his reputation intact, underlines the significance he has in the group. And the way he has been batting in this tour so far, it should not be a surprise if he continues with his fairy-tale form in this game as well.
With Gambhir set to come back due to the concussion he suffered in the fourth and final Test against England, Rahane could partner Parthiv Patel at the top followed by Dravid at his customary number three position.
The middle-order will have a youthful look with Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina coming in before skipper M S Dhoni at No. 7. The bowling department may see Pravin Kumar sharing the new ball with R P Singh. There are also enough indication, that one might see the two spinners Mishra and Ashwin making into the playing XI at the expense of a third-seamer.
England will also have a squad with an eye on next year's T20 World Cup. As it stands fast bowler Dernbach will start in the playing XI with a toss-up between Stokes and Buttler for the No. 6 position.
Given the sub-continental nature of the relaid pitch at the Old Trafford, the match can be expected to be a run-feast. And then there will also be the factor of gaining momentum into the ODI series which is what both the teams would be aiming to achieve. But more importantly, it is India who need to win the game to atleast get back some lost ground.