NEW DELHI: India beat England by seven wickets in the third Twenty20 international on Sunday to clinch the three-match series 2-1. India won the first T20I by eight wickets at Manchester before England leveled the series with a five-wicket win at Cardiff.
In his column for the Times of India, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly wrote, “India have got off to the start they wanted on their England tour, winning the T20 series with authority. Even in the match they lost, they fought hard till the last over. This confidence and momentum will surely be carried into the ODI series. The way this Indian team is shaping up in the shorter version, even England will have to raise their game in order to stop Virat and his boys. This team looks like it could win in any condition in the shorter format of the game.”
At the start of what promises to be an intensely fought summer of cricket, India now have the bragging rights and carry the winning momentum into the ODI series.
“I have been travelling to England every year for the last 20-22 years and have not seen a summer like this. It is very, very hot and the typical moist English condition is a far cry from what it usually is. It is more like playing in India. The wickets are hard and batting friendly: the spinners are sure to enjoy bowling on these tracks. The challenge for England this series will be to handle the Indian spinners and this will be the decisive factor. England in England is always a strong opposition but this Indian team is a force to reckon with,” Ganguly, who played 113 Tests for India.
“Both the sides have a strong batting line-up though I believe India, with all their potential and being led by an aggressive Virat Kohli, are a step higher. The Indian bowling looks much stronger than its English counterpart. The consistent game time given to Umesh will help his confidence as there is no real substitute for pace and the spin of Kuldeep and Chahal. They can control this fragile English middle-order,” Ganguly added.
Ganguly praised Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who played stellar roles in Indian victories in the first and the deciding matches of the T20I series.
“One has to speak about Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma. The day Rohit performs he makes others just watch. The range of shots this man has is amazing and in the shorter formats he is no doubt one of India’s biggest matchwinners, along with Kohli. It is good to see Virat keeping faith in Rahul. He is a player for the future and, if confidence is bestowed upon him, he will develop into a giant of a player. Hardik needs special mention. He is improving by leaps and bounds and is someone who changes the entire dynamic of the team composition with his batting and bowling. He is a fearless cricketer. We are just at the start of a long tour and the way India has begun we could be set for a glorious ‘Indian Summer’ if the England bowling does not improve,” Ganguly signed off.