India’s lead up to starting the T20I series against England - a dominant win in the two-match Twenty20 International series against Ireland - offered a perfect opportunity for the visitors to get acclimatised to the conditions beforehand. Now Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, and his men will have to walk the talk. In his first full press conference in England on Monday (July 2) in Manchester when Kohli stressed on intent and said that they 'want to win every session and every ball'. He certainly seems ready for the strenuous contest which will comprise of three T20Is and as many One-Day Internationals followed by a grueling five-Test series in a two-month long tour.
India will begin the series at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday when they lock horns with England for the first of the three T20Is. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suresh Raina got sparkling half-centuries in Ireland, making sure that Kohli will have a tough time selecting an XI as players are jostling for spots. England, on the other hand, are in imperious form as they are coming into the series on the back of a complete whitewash of Australia. The Eoin Morgan-led side has a lot of depth in the batting while having the perfect balance to the side. It will be a nail-biting series between two quality sides who have recently been in outstanding white-ball form.
Keep an eye on
There are a few players in both camps who have been in great touch but these are the two who might play a critical role for their side.
Shikhar Dhawan: The southpaw has never hit the ball better than he is doing right now. He was rested for the second T20I against Ireland to give the others a run but has done enough to warrant a place at the top of the batting order in this series. His 45-ball 74 wasn't a one-off innings, he has four fifties in nine games this year for India, one more than what he managed in his entire T20I career which began in 2011. Dhawan loves to get on with it almost immediately which lifts the pressure off Rohit, who likes to take his time at the start of the innings, and puts the opposition bowlers under immense pressure.
Jos Buttler: The wicket-keeping batsman was in red-hot form during the Indian Premier League and carried that form into the home series against Australia, scoring three fifties and one hundred in six limited-overs games. Seeing Buttler excelling for his franchise Rajasthan Royals at the top of the order, England wasted no time in asking him to open against Australia in the lone T20I. He responded with a belligerent 30-ball 61 which set up the game for the home side. He will be a dangerous batsman against the hard new ball and a Jasprit Bumrah-less India will have their work cut out against the 27-year-old.
While India has an overall win ratio of 62.38 % against the hosts, they have never won a single T20I playing in England in three attempts. There is not much which separates these two sides but given the home advantage, England will start this game with a slight advantage. Expect a high scoring thriller.