India need to prove its Test status in England
India achieved the numero uno Test status primarily by virtue of their triumphs at home but the forthcoming away series against England will be the real test for the visitors, said legendary cricketer Ian Botham.
"India are currently ranked No 1 in the world and they got there by playing some decent cricket, mainly at home. But when you consider that they have only beaten Bangladesh and New Zealand in their last six away trips, then you realise that they have got a bit to prove to people this summer," Bothan wrote in his column for Mirror newspaper.
The battle for Test supremacy begins this summer when world number one India face number three England in a four-match series starting July.
During the tour, India will play four Tests - the first of which starts at Lord`s on July 21 - five ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 match.
Botham also showed scant respect to ICC`s ranking system, and rated England as the best team in the longer version of the game at present.
"The England Test team is the best in world cricket and they will prove it beyond doubt this summer.”
"Forget the rankings designed by men with computers who believe that logarithms can tell us who is playing the best cricket more accurately than we can see with our eyes," the former English captain insisted.
"England are unbeaten in seven series with six of them ending in victory for Andrew Strauss`s side, and the pinnacle of these was the magnificent Ashes campaign last winter. That sealed it for me. Not just because it was the Ashes and winning them in Australia is notoriously difficult, but because they did it so comprehensively and in such style," Botham said.
"It takes something special to win Down Under, but it takes a rare gem of a side to do it with three innings defeats and leave the Australians floundering around looking for someone to blame before turning on each other," he reasoned.”
He said what augurs well for England is the mixture of youth and experience of the present team.
"The real beauty of this England team is their age and their experience. They have nearly all played enough Test cricket to be considered old pros, yet most of them are still so young," Botham wrote.
"Unlike the 2005 team that reached a peak and was then ravaged by retirements and injuries, this England side has plenty of cricket left in it. Only Strauss and Graeme Swann are over 30 and I can see the England skipper continuing to lead the side into the next Ashes series," he added.
Botham said with two important series lined up this summer - against Sri Lanka and India, England`s target should be "world supremacy".
"Between now and then, the target is sustained world supremacy. Outside the great Australian and West Indies teams, no other side has dominated the game and England have the chance to put themselves in that position," the former all-rounder added.
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