IND vs ENG 2022: “England’s in front because they have been playing Test cricket”

Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson reckons England have the upper hand over India going into the rescheduled Test in Birmingham, which begins on Friday (July 1).

The test is being held to make up for the fifth test during last year’s India tour of England, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Incidentally, India is struggling with COVID troubles this time as well, with captain Rohit Sharma testing positive. Previously, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was also forced to postpone his arrival in the UK after returning a positive test.

Previewing the India-England Birmingham Test, Watson predicted an intriguing competition. However, he added that the hosts would go into the game with better preparation. In a speech on the ICC Review Show he said:

“India, with Rohit Sharma, coming Rahul Dravid (as a coach), it’s a lot more even now. But for me England are ahead just because they played Test cricket. They played incredibly well against New Zealand. I think England have a bit of a jump-start.”

Watson explained why India may be a little under-prepared for England’s challenge:

“There is no question that India has an incredible testing team. But they will be a little underwhelmed and will be playing a lot of T20 and one-day cricket in the last three to four months. Test cricket, especially the bowlers, their workload and all, it will take a little time for their bodies to get used to it.

England were terrific in the recently concluded three-game home test series against New Zealand. The Kiwis provided stiff competition. However, England’s aggressive approach under the new captain-manager combination of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum meant the hosts edged their opponents 3-0.

‘Their dynamism quickly brought their cricket forward’ – Watson on the impact of Stokes-McCullum on England

India led 2-1 in the series last year when the final Test, which was due to be played at Manchester’s Old Trafford, was cancelled. However, Watson pointed out that a lot has changed since the series, with momentum now with England. The former Australian cricketer explained:

“Before that final Test match was postponed by almost a year, India was dominating and England were really starting to rejuvenate at that time. Well, the way things have changed, what we’ve seen with England, the whole captaining and coaching thing – their momentum has taken their cricket forward so quickly.

India beat England on their previous tour at Lord’s (151 runs) and The Oval (157 runs), while losing by one innings and 76 runs at Headingley. The first test of the series in Nottingham ended in a draw. IND vs ENG 2022: “England’s in front because they have been playing Test cricket”

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