The India vs England rivalry is very much on par, if not actually on par, with the Ashes, a term which emanated from a satire in The Sporting Times, a British newspaper, following Australia’s victory at the Oval in London in 1882. The Sporting Times wrote in their satire, that English cricket had expired and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
The battles between India and the English over the last decade have especially been fiercely contested. The two sets of players have been involved in a few ugly incidents on the field and off the field, we have seen players-turned-commentators get into verbals in the commentary box—with a segment involving Ravi Shastri and Nasser Hussain during the Trent Bridge Test in 2011 being the most conspicuous—resulting in strained relations and grudges.
The build-up to the upcoming five-Test series, which begins in Rajkot on Wednesday (November 9th, 2016), has been quite low-key, with Alastair Cook’s England coming into this series against India on the back of an underwhelming showing in their two-Test series against Bangladesh.
The Virat Kohli-led hosts, on the other hand, are a confident bunch after trouncing New Zealand 3-0 and will look to register their first Test series win over the English, home or away, since 2007, when a Rahul Dravid-led India beat England 0-1 at their own den.
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From a tactical viewpoint, therefore, if England can make this Indian Test side, who like to dominate their opponents and are the No. 1-ranked Test team currently, anxious and desperate, then we could have an interesting contest on the cards. Also worth mentioning is the fact that because this is a long, five-Test series, getting off to a good start is not a mandate. Even if you fail to get off to an enviable start and fall behind, you can come roaring back, as Cook’s men showed during India’s tour of England 2014.
The video below is a preview of the Rajkot Test, providing you a low-down on what the English need to do, what sort of a pitch can be expected at the SCA Stadium and which players are critical to the visitors, over the course of India v England 2016-17 Test series.