The big worries for Team India vs England
Form and fitness of key players just add to India captain MS Dhoni's misery ahead of the first Test against England.
Team India take on England in the curtain raiser of the four-match Test series today. Indian fans want a 4-0 win for the hosts, but that is easier said than done, with Team India not perfectly placed ahead of this series. There are a few worries and here are the Top 5.
1. ZAHEER FITNESS ISSUES: The biggest worry for India will be Zaheer Khan's fitness. The left arm pacer bowled less than 14 overs the last time India played England due to injuries. Zak's fitness has been a constant worry with the pacer picking up a groin strain in the Ranji Trophy this month. No wonder then that Sunil Gavaskar has advised a stringent fitness test for him ahead of the first Test.
2. BAD FORM OF OPENERS: One of the biggest tests for India will be the form of their openers. The last time Virender Sehwag scored a Test ton was in November 2010. Â
Gambhir scored his hundred in January 2010. The fact that two backup openers in Rahane and Murali Vijay have been picked for the first two Tests is a sign that the team is worried.
3. INEXPERIENCED MIDDLE ORDER: At number three is the hole India has in their middle order. After losing Dravid & Laxman, the reins of India's middle have been handed to Virat Kohli, 5-Test old Cheteshwar Pujara and comeback man Yuvraj Singh. The experience is missing and if the openers fail the young guns will be tested.
4. SACHIN'S ROUGH PATCH: It's been 22 months since Sachin Tendulkar scored a Test century. The critics had a field day when he was clean bowled thrice in the Test series vs New Zealand. His decision to play a Ranji match ahead of this series showed he was trying everything to rediscover his touch.
5. DHONI CAPTAINCY WOES: For many experts MS Dhoni's Test captaincy could well be at stake in the 4-Test series. With his winning percentage as captain falling, both his calls as captain and his exploits with the bat will be closely watched.