Now, the one-day test

Team India has a lot riding on the one-dayers and a successful campaign will make them feel better as it would the fans.

Team India will be looking forward to the one-day series as the break between the two formats of the game would have given them the time to regroup and also get their batteries charged. The future generation of batsmen like Kohli and Rohit Sharma has put up some runs in the lead up games and this will give the team management some confidence. However, the biggest conundrum for the management to solve will be the playing XI. The absence of Yuvraj Singh has deprived Dhoni of someone who can squeeze in a few useful overs and though Raina can roll his arm over, he cannot be expected to fill in as the fifth bowler. Will this prompt Team India to play five bowlers and six batsmen instead of the usual norm of four bowlers and seven batsmen? It is unlikely that Dhoni will take such decisions given that the Indian batsmen fell short of expectations right through the Test series. The Indian squad does not have a batsman who can bowl nor does it have bowlers who can contribute with the bat in a telling manner. The English summer will be full of challenges for Dhoni and with enough gaps still apparent in the Indian ranks, he will be a really tired man at the end of this tour.

The one-dayers will be different in the sense that both teams have made changes, some by choice and some by design, but the home side will be keen to keep their momentum going. Andy Flower has been ensuring that the workload of the key players is well managed and his decision to rest Kevin Pietersen for the one-dayers is an indication of his confidence in his team as also the individuals picked for the ODIs. England have retained their bowling line-up that figured in the Tests and this is a good ploy as not only are they on top of their game but they have the psychological advantage over the Indian batsmen. In addition, the seamers can pose serious problems if the conditions help swing and seam. With three games scheduled to be played under lights, the possibility of bowler-friendly conditions cannot be ruled out.

The biggest advantage England has over India is the presence of multi-dimensional cricketers like Broad and Bopara who lend flexibility to the side. Team India will do well not to gauge the English seamers based on their inefficacy on the Indian pitches during the World Cup.

They did not look the part on the Sub-Continent pitches alright, but that was due to lack of lateral movement. It will be a different scenario in their own backyard as they will have enough help to be formidable. With Sehwag opting out of the series, Team India may not get off to fliers unless of course Tendulkar decides to take over the role of going after the bowlers. Tendulkar has enough experience to hustle the scoring rate without having to be reckless, but will the team management urge him to be dominant is something that remains to be seen. Be that as it may, the Indian batting line-up looks strong enough but the pace bowling department does not really provide a great sense of security. Two of the lead bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, are out of the series and the onus now rests on Munaf Patel, R. P. Singh, Vinay Kumar and the new exciting prospect Varun Aaron. Vinay Kumar will be an ideal bowler when there is some swing available, but it will be interesting to see if Dhoni unleashes his teammate Aaron first up.

The strongly built lad can work up pace, but the critical factor is that he needs to get some deviation off the pitch to trouble the batsmen at that level. It will not be a bad idea to play the young man as he is an unknown quantity as far as the Englishmen are concerned. Besides, he can prevent the batsmen from getting on to the front foot as they might do against the others in the ranks. The pacers apart, it will be really a test for the lead spinner Ashwin as well because gripping the ball can be difficult in cold conditions. He will be expected to deliver considering that he has done well in his sporadic appearances in the past. His aggressive attitude and positive approach will be welcome in the Indian dressing room for those attributes were by and large missing during the Test series. In the event India continues to go in with just four bowlers, the pressure will be enormous on them and if they fail to deliver, no amount of runs will be enough to restrict the Englishmen as was seen in the World Cup encounter.

But one thing is for sure, Team India has a lot riding on the one-dayers and a successful campaign will make them feel better as it would the fans.