India are all set to host England for 4 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 5 T20Is. The Test series kicks-off in Chennai from February 5 and both sides are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations.
While England will be heading into the series on the back of an incredible 2-0 series win against Sri Lanka, India scripted history by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia.
Though the Indian side hasn’t lost any Test series at home since 2012, England will be aware of the fact that they were the side to beat India in India.
On that note, let’s take a look at player battles.
Virat Kohli vs James Anderson
World cricket has seen one of the most cherished and awaited cricketing rivalries between James Anderson and Virat Kohli. It all started when the Englishman got the better of the world-class batsman in the 2014 Test series. The 32-year-old managed to score just 134 runs in the five-match series at a poor average of 13.40.
Notably, the chief architect of Kohli’s horrendous outing was Anderson, who dismissed the Indian stalwart on four occasions. However, the Delhi born-star turned his fortunes during India’s tour of England in 2018. He emerged as the leading run-getter in that series with 593 runs at a brilliant average of 59.30, including two hundreds and three half-centuries. Kohli also had the last laugh against the veteran English speedster as he smashed 114 runs off Anderson’s 270 deliveries without being dismissed by him. Having scored consistently all around the globe, Virat can bring up his A-game yet again against the classic Anderson.
Ajinkya Rahane vs Stuart Broad
After Virat Kohli, another Indian batsman who can trouble the England bowlers is Ajinkya Rahane. The 32-year-old batsman was at his best during the four-match Test series against the Baggy Greens. In the absence of the regular skipper, Rahane led from the front and helped the visitors to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Australian soil. India’s Test vice-captain has always come to the rescue whenever his team has needed him.
However, this time around, England’s seam bowler, Stuart Broad can target the experienced batsman and will try to send him back in the early overs. If Rahane settles down, he will score runs heavily.
Rohit Sharma vs Ben Stokes
The swashbuckling India opener, Rohit Sharma, will be looking to tame the English bowlers in the upcoming series against Joe Root-led side. The 33-year-old batsman was last seen in action during the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. After missing the first two Tests against Tim Paine-led side, Hitman had scores of 26, 52, 44, and 7 in the four innings.
Everyone knows that Rohit has a knack of scoring daddy hundreds in home conditions. He has played 34 Test matches so far and notched up 2270 runs at an impressive average of 45.40 with six tons and 11 half-centuries.
Keeping his big-hitting skills in mind, Ben Stokes will put his best foot forward in order to dominate Rohit Sharma in the forthcoming series.
Stokes, who is the number one all-rounder in the longest format of the game, could prove to be a reckoning force for England on the Indian soil.
Joe Root vs Ravichandran Ashwin
England Test captain, Joe Root is rated as one of the finest batsmen in modern-day cricket. He has raised his level of performance in the last couple of years. With England looking to dominate Kohli’s men in India, Root will be the key player to turn the tides for the visitors.
Root has played 16 Tests against India, scoring 1,421 runs at an average of 56.84.
The 30-year-old batsman recently played a vital role in England’s success in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. Leading from the front, Root scored 426 runs in Sri Lanka including innings of 228 and 186.
Considering the current batting form of Joe Root, he can keep R Ashwin at bay.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Rory Burns
India’s pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah has proved to be a match-winner in his short but impressive Test career so far. In 17 Tests, he has scalped 79 wickets at a brilliant economy rate of 2.70.
Despite a disappointing show in the ODIs against Australia, Bumrah didn’t lose his confidence and came up with a much-improved performance in the Test matches. Having recovered from an abdominal strain that ruled him out of the Gabba Test, Bumrah is now training hard to trouble the English batters.
On the other hand, England opener, Rory Burns, who will be facing Bumrah for the first time in his cricketing career, will be hoping to come out all guns blazing in the opening game at the MA Chidambaram.
Ahead of the series opener, Burns has admitted that Jasprit Bumrah is a hard bowler to prepare for in the red-ball format.
“Bumrah is a hard man to prepare for, isn’t he? He is unique in terms of how comes to bowl,” said Burns
Given his accurate line and length bowling, Bumrah will be a major threat for England batsmen in the upcoming series.
Washington Sundar vs Jos Buttler
Washington Sundar turned out to be a silver lining for India in the Test series against Australia. The 21-year-old young all-rounder performed exceedingly well with both bat and ball. Sundar, who made his Test debut at the Gabba in Brisbane, smashed 84 runs in the series decider at an average of more than 40 while scalping 4 wickets.
With India and England locking horns in the four-match Test series, Sundar will be aiming to replicate his form on home soil.
Notably, England’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman, Jos Buttler could pose a serious threat to young and inexperienced bowler Sundar in the much-awaited series.
As far as Buttler’s Test career is concerned, he has played 49 matches so far, accumulating 2674 runs at an average of 34.72.