Ahead of any important series involving India, while the focus is always on Virat Kohli, Chesteshwar Pujara and other key batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane is one cricketer who has been one of the most consistent performers for Men in Blue in Tests. Even in the series against New Zealand, Rahane proved his mettle yet again with a brilliant 188-run knock in the third and final Test. The Mumbai batsman would be looking to make up for the poor show in the five-match ODI series against the Kiwis by producing some big knocks against England.
Since India have a long home season ahead, the selectors and the Indian think-tank have taken a good decision to rest the deadly spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from ODIs. Ashwin, in particular, has been a vital cog in the Indian Test set up, where he has bamboozled the best batsmen with his variation. The offie's ability to trouble opposition's key batsmen separates him from the rest and the recently concluded series against New Zealand was no different. Ashwin bagged his fourth consecutive Man of the Series award as a result of his sublime peformance where he picked 27 wickets from six innings, which included three five-wicket hauls.
The right-hander is one of the top four batsmen in contemporary cricket, who are rated highly by cricket cognoscenti. Despite being one of the most technically sound batsmen in the English batting line-up, Root failed to score freely against Bangladesh in the recently concluded two-match Test series, where he amassed just 98 runs from four innings. How well England perform in the five-match series will majorly depend on how many runs Root has to his name after the series.
When England toured India in 2012, Alastair Cook's sensational form was a major reason behind their 2-1 triumph against the hosts. Leading from the front, Cook dismantled the Indian spinners with his positive approach. It was a remarkable series for the left-hander, where he slammed three consecutive centuries. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since 2012, as the English skipper has added only six more centuries under his belt since that memorable tour. Even though he is no more the player he used to be, Cook still remains a major threat to Indian bowlers.
Ever since he took over the Test captaincy reigns from MS Dhoni in the traditional format, Kohli has gone on to improve with each series. With a winning mindset, Kohli has plundered runs in whites, and has led India to four consecutive series wins now. He had a quiet series against New Zealand as per his standards, where apart from a record double ton, he couldn't do much with the bat. And fans cannot forget his struggle on the tour of England in 2014, where English seamers exploited his weakness outside the off-stump throughout the series. Kohli loves to take up new challenges and he would be very keen to amend his poor Test record against England.