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India tour of England: Virat Kohli’s fitness under dark clouds, England batting returns to full strength

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‘Timid’ is a word that England’s new white ball captain Jos Buttler used at the end of England’s T20I series against India. The hosts, under the new captain, lost the first two games of the three-match series making a meek surrender against Rohit Sharma’s India. The blame lay with Buttler and the top order’s timid approach against a rampaging Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who swung the white ball miles in the early overs of the game.

After winning the inconsequential third game at Trent Bridge, Buttler said that the conversation in the dressing room was to be more positive with their approach and making sure that they did not let the Indian pacers runaway with the game.

With that in mind, England, starting 12 July, Tuesday have another test at their hands, as they face Rohit Sharma’s side in a three-match ODI series, the third and final part of India’s tour of England.

Jos Buttler’s issues with a timid batting line-up might be solved straightway with Joe Root and Ben Stokes’ return to the batting line-up. The duo ripped India apart in the fifth and final Test match of the series and handed England a record-shattering win at Edgbaston. They will hope to emulate the same at The Oval, when they take the field once again.

WILL VIRAT KOHLI PLAY?

Reports arrived late on Monday, 11 July that Virat Kohli had suffered a groin injury and is likely to be out of the first ODI. The news only added fuel to the fire about Virat Kohli’s ongoing terrible run of form, where he has not added anything constructive to the batting order, since his rest after the Indian Premier League.

WHAT IS ENGLAND’S BOWLING ATTACK?

England are facing a fair amount of issues with finding a settled bowling attack. With the likes of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer out, it will be a struggle for them to find an attack which was quite threatening a couple of years back. They might go for a left-arm dominated combination with Sam Curran and David Willey at the top with one between Brydon Carse or Reece Topley finding a place in the starting XI.

TALKING POINT

This is the first time that Hardik Pandya will be back in action in the 50-over format in almost a year. It is expected that he has attained full fitness to take the workload of a 100 overs in a day, but one has to see how Rohit Sharma manages him in the field.

ENGLAND’S POINT TO PROVE

The onus of the series will lie on England that they have set their processes right so that the departure of Eoin Morgan does not hurt their white-ball supremacy in world cricket. It did not come off well in the T20I series, and the team management will be hoping that they do not lose back to back series against India in the run-up to the T20 World Cup.

— ENDS —

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