London, Sep 3: 'What could have gone wrong, went wrong', was the statement of a stoic M S Dhoni after his side's loss to England in the first Test of the series at Lord's. Little did he know that there was more ill-luck in store for his side which would eventually see them being whitewashed 4-0 in the Tests. Three wins in the practice games and then the same losing streak was back in the lone T20 against England.
And still with no signs of a favourable luck, India embark on a five match ODI series against an opponent who have upstaged them to rightfully claim the best team's tag and not to say are also increasingly gaining an aura about them.
It all looks dark for India. Five of their star campaigners who led them to World Cup glory, are now back home to nurse their injuries leaving a wounded side severely depleted. True there is 'the' Tendulkar in the side, but to what extent can he negate the absence of a fiery opener, a solid batsman, a wonderful all-rounder, a feisty spinner and overall the best seamer in the side.
For the ardent Indian cricket fan, it may sound blasphemous to suggest that there is something in the cricket field that Sachin cannot outdo with his batting prowess, but even most of them would agree that given the way the maestro has performed in this tour, there are serious concerns about his ability to help his side overcome all these disappointments.
Then again, he has the support of Rahul Dravid - the best batsman for India on this tour. But it would be too much to expect from a man to deliver who has not ODIs for the last two years. There is no doubt about his class, but still there is a question mark about his adaptability in a format which he has not been playing for a long time.
This leaves us with the Rahanes, Kohlis and Sharmas who have all played significantly well during their brief stint in the Old Country so far. There is a deliberate absence of Raina's name, simply because despite all his talents and promises he has once again failed to perform outside the sub-continent.
The bowling, as has become typical of an Indian bowling unit doesn't look menacing. But probably it will be a notch better than what was the case in the Test series. Praveen Kumar, will once again lead the attack and will have Munaf Patel for company. But whether India will go with three seamers or two spinners is still unclear.
If they go with a three-prong seam attack, then the third seamer's spot may go to Vinay Kumar.
England on the other hand appear more settled and would for sure include fast bowler Jade Dernbach alongside Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan. With no Pietersen in side, Bopara and Kieswetter would join forces with Cook, Trott, Bell and Morgan.
England (possible): Craig Kieswetter (wk), Alastair Cook (c), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jade Dernbach
India (possible): Ajinkya Rahane, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (capt / wk), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, R Vinay Kumar