London, Sep 3: Despite India having a nightmarish English summer so far with 0-4 pounding in the Test series and also losing the one-off Twenty20 game against England, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels the five-match ODI series between India and England is going to be a close affair.
"It's going to be a close ODI series for sure and this time, I am not sure how India are going to play! I will make a comment on India only after the first ODI," said Akram.
"I am keen to see their body language and how well they take the raging bull by the horns. Needless to say, India's body language in the Test series was abysmal and they never looked in command. I am sure, they will look a different lot in the ODIs. The current squad looks a better ODI unit," he added.
Akram, however, admitted that the Indians, without their key players, are the favourites only on paper.
"It's misleading to call the ODI series starting tomorrow a match-up between the ODI world champions and the world T20 winners. Without half-a-dozen main players that helped India clinch the World Cup earlier this year, MS Dhoni's squad are favourites, but only on paper," Akram wrote in his column for ESPNStar.com.
Stating that there are only two players -- Rohit Sharma and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who he was keen to follow during the One-dayers, the former cricketer said, "Rohit is immensely talented. He has got plenty of opportunities in the past and he seems to be in good form as well. It's time he lives up to his promise and take advantage of the chance given to him.
"Ashwin is a very good ODI and T20 bowler. His variations make him a very difficult prospect. He has a very good carom ball. Since most English batsmen haven't played against him, Ashwin will be the ''mystery'' element and Dhoni should use him judiciously."