Alastair Cook highlights Team India's 'weakness' ahead of England series
Former captain Alastair Cook believes the Indian batters might be under the scanner in the upcoming five-match Test series against England. The 36-year-old stated that the hosts will "fancy their chances" if the conditions favor fast-bowling. Recently, India landed in hot water against the New Zealand seamers in the WTC final at the Rose Bowl. The England-India Test series begins on August 4.
"England will always fancy their chances more if that ball moves," Cook said on BBC Test Match Special Podcast episode. He added, "If the conditions are like that in the month of August with moisture around, England will fancy bowling to that Indian side. Yes, they are a world-class batting unit. But their big weakness is the ball that moves if it nips."
Cook might have termed England as favorites in the contest but their recent record states otherwise. The Joe Root-led side recently lost 1-0 to New Zealand in the two-match Test series at home. England were without the likes of star players Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler in the series. However, they still had the services of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
England lost their first Test series at home since 2014 when Sri Lanka defeated them 1-0. Ever since the Englishmen were unbeaten in 13 straight series. They won nine series in the period and drew four.
As far as the Indian top-order is concerned, it looks wavered at the moment. Youngster Shubman Gill will likely miss the England Test series due to injury. He will be replaced by either Mayank Agarwal or KL Rahul. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma needs to capitalize upon his starts. Cheteshwar Pujara will also be in the spotlight after a poor outing against the Kiwis.
Once again, a lot would depend upon Indian captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. The duo was on charge in the recently concluded WTC final. Kohli had improved his record in England on India's 2018 tour. He now owns 784 runs in the nation with two hundreds. Although Rahane averages less in England (29.52), he has impressed with his impactful knocks in past.
The flamboyant Rishabh Pant has been India's x-factor of late. His exploits from the 2020/21 Australian tour made him the toast of the town. Pant would want to back his attacking instinct, which made him shine Down Under. Notably, he scored his maiden Test hundred on the 2018 England tour (114, The Oval). He is expected to play in a similar manner this time.