England will set about continuing their fine winter when taking on India in a five-match ODI series. Alastair Cook’s men won the Test series, the first time an England side had won in India since 1984/85, and will look to carry that momentum forward.
It is a much-changed squad, there’s also a new coach with Ashley Giles taking charge of ODI affairs, and they have lost their two warm-up games. But the good news is they are facing an India who are in turmoil.
India have been let down badly by their batsmen so far this winter, with only captain MS Dhoni emerging in credit from the ODI series loss to Pakistan. Pace was their undoing against Pakistan and it is fair to suggest England have better pace weapons at their disposal. With that firmly in mind, Steven Finn is a standout bet to be top series wicket taker for the tourists. If he stays fit, which is a big if given his injury record, the 3/1 looks well worth taking.
Looking at the batting, we will keep faith with Ian Bell. He is as classy as anyone in the England camp and given how good he looked in the warm-up games, take him to notch the most series runs – again 3/1.
The first ODI takes place at Rajkot on Friday and it is a venue making its debut on the international stage, meaning there is little form to go on. But we do have domestic form to look at. India’s premier domestic ODI competition is the Challenger Trophy and in four games in 2012, five totals of 300-plus were posted. This suggests runs will flow and to that end we are going to have a bit of fun and say a century will be scored by any player – 11/8 with bet365.