The four-match series between the two teams is scheduled to start at Chepauk on Friday, February 5.
Both India and England are coming into the series on a high with away series wins in the longest format of the game against Australia and Sri Lanka respectively.
While writing for the Daily Mail UK, David Lloyd and Nasser Hussain shared their views about England’s prospects against Team India and the likely outcome of the series.
Lloyd believes Team India are the firm favorites but added that England having played a two-Test series against Sri Lanka on turning tracks will stand them in good stead.
Hussain, on the contrary, feels that England can spring a surprise on Team India.
However, the former England captain acknowledged that the series is one of the toughest assignments for the visitors.
“India are raging favourites, but it will be good for England to be underdogs. It will help them to have had two matches in Sri Lanka in what you’d think will be similar conditions. If I’m putting my two bob anywhere it’s on India,” mentioned Lloyd.
“England have got a chance, absolutely, the way they’re playing. The brand and style of cricket Joe Root and Chris Silverwood have put together has made them much better away from home. But, make no mistake, this and Australia away are the two hardest challenges for an England side. They will need to start well,” observed Hussain.
“They [India] are very strong but Ravindra Jadeja’s injury is a massive blow. We saw England struggle against left-arm spin in Sri Lanka and Jadeja plays his IPL cricket in Chennai and knows the ground well. Without him, their balance is an area England could exploit. Kohli might have a point to prove with everyone talking about Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy in Australia,” pointed out Hussain.
David Lloyd believes Axar Patel can prove to be an able replacement for Jadeja.
He pointed out Team India had shown in Australia that they can rise to the occasion even in the absence of some of their established players, including Virat Kohli.
“India are the best in the world as they showed in beating Australia almost without the captain. They’ve got a balanced team and wonderful batsmen. Nasser says they will miss Jadeja, but Axar Patel is a very good bowler if they go the way of spin,” highlighted Lloyd.
Maiden 10-wicket haul in a Test match for Lasith Embuldeniya. He has been brilliant. Looking at how England are finding it hard to play left-arm orthodox spinner won’t be surprised if Axar Patel makes his debut at Chepauk. Any thoughts? #SLvENG
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) January 25, 2021
Nasser Hussain predicted a 2-1 series win for Team India but added an upset result is not beyond the visitors.
David Lloyd feels Team India might whitewash England while hoping that he would be made to eat his words.
“India are favourites and I’d go for them winning 2-1 but this England side can surprise you and they’re on an upward curve,” observed Hussain.
“I think India will win hands down, maybe 3-0 or 4-0, but I’d love to be proved wrong,” concluded Lloyd.
The outcome of the India-England series will play a huge role in determining the finalists of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
While a win with a two-Test margin will guarantee Team India a spot in the final, the visitors will need an even bigger victory margin to stand a chance to make the grade.
— ICC (@ICC) January 25, 2021