India are favourites, England’s top three inconsistent: Chappell
New Delhi: Former Australia captain Ian Chappell reckons India will start as favourites in the Test series against England owing to a quality pace attack with plenty of depth and a top order that is more consistent than the visitors”.
What should also bolster the home team is the addition of captain Virat Kohli to a strong batting line-up and their incredible recent triumph in Australia.
“India will start as favourites after an exhilarating victory over Australia, overcoming all obstacles. When you add the name Virat Kohli to the batting order, the team suddenly assumes a bulletproof cloak,” Chappell wrote in his column for ”ESPNcricinfo”.
“In also adding the names R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma to the list of available players, India take on an unbeatable appearance.”
The big-ticket series starts in Chennai on February 5.
Chappell feels India’s formidable top order may tip the scales in favour of the home team, despite England’s 2-0 sweep of Sri Lanka recently.
“…The availability of a premium player in Ben Stokes who, like (Hardik) Pandya, provides all-round ability and selection flexibility, albeit at a higher level than the Indian, is a big plus. And Jofra Archer adds substantially to the quality of an already strong pace attack.
“However it’s the top of the England order, where another returning player, Rory Burns, will reside, that the scales tip in India’s favour.
“India’s top three feature an impressive Shubman Gill, a talented but flawed Rohit Sharma and the indomitable Cheteshwar Pujara, which places them well ahead of England’s top order.”
He says it will add a lot of pressure on Joe Root if the duo of Dom Silbey and Rory Burns fails.
“Dom Sibley possesses the grit and determination required for success at the highest level but there are questions about his technique against the best international bowlers.
“Burns is another in the same category as Sibley, and if both players fail the challenges England will be in trouble unless Joe Root continues to score at his current freakish level.
“Zak Crawley, like his Indian counterpart Gill, is talented and has great potential. Nevertheless his failure to contribute in Sri Lanka raises concerns that need to be put to rest quickly and there’s no better place or time to do that than in India.”