India are gung-ho, having “paid back” England in their own coin on the “Payback Tour”, with a 5-0 sweep of the ODI series. The T20 game presents another opportunity for poetic justice to play its part, as England have recently been ranked no. one in international T20 cricket, just as India went to England ranked no. one in tests only to lose that ranking. While a single defeat would not cause England to topple in the T20 rankings, it would definitely give Dhoni and India the satisfaction of having done justice to the “payback” concept.
But England are definitely likely to be a tougher proposition in the shorter format, as the players would need to keep their heads for a shorter period. Kleiswetter and Cook revealed a return to form in the last ODI. On the flip side, the in-form Pietersen could miss out owing to an injury sustained in the last match. Of Trott, Bell and Bopara, one man may have to sit out the game, and that could be Bell, unless Pietersen is unable to play, in which case Bell could be his replacement.
Finn impressed with his pace in the ODI series and Bresnan had the odd good spell. But spinners Swann, Patel and Borthwick had a torrid time against the rampaging Indian batting line-up. For England coach Andy Flower, it could be a toss up between Bairstow and Butler; though Bairstow failed to make the most of his opportunities in the ODI series, he showed enough evidence of his explosive hitting ability to warrant selection. Patel’s batting came good in a couple of innings and that should cheer up the England squad.
Rahane, the find of the ODI series, should pen the innings with the in-form Utthappa, in place of Gambhir, who is unavailable for the game. The middle order selects itself, with India’s latest go-to men, Raina and Kohli, leading the charge. The return of Yusuf Pathan to the fray will be something to look forward to and his rival for the all-rounder spot, Jadeja will look to build on his good showing in the ODI series. The Kumar duo should handle the new ball and it will be interesting to see if Varun Aaron, who had an impressive 3/24 on his ODI debut, is given a place in the first eleven.
On the spin-friendly Eden Gardens track, Ashwin and Jadeja will hold out the biggest threat to England, and their batsmen will need to show much greater application than they did in the ODI series, if England are to make a match of it.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.