Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels India are the firm favourites to win the upcoming four-match Test series against England starting February 5. India will be high on confidence after having beaten Australia 2-1 in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with their third-choice bowling attack and in the absence of captain Virat Kohli.
Chappell reckons that the key difference between the two teams is a solid top-order that the hosts posses when compared to the visiting England team. India’s top-order boasts of Rohit Sharma, newcomer Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara while England have Dom Sibley, Rory Burns and captain Joe Root.
“India will start as favourites after an exhilarating victory over Australia, overcoming all obstacles. When you add the name Virat Kohli to the batting order, the team suddenly assumes a bulletproof cloak,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“In also adding the names R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma to the list of available players, India take on an unbeatable appearance,” he added.
While England do have the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer – players capable of turning the course of a contest singlehandedly, a fragile top-order puts them at a disadvantage.
“…The availability of a premium player in Ben Stokes who, like (Hardik) Pandya, provides all-round ability and selection flexibility, albeit at a higher level than the Indian, is a big plus. And Jofra Archer adds substantially to the quality of an already strong pace attack,’ Chappell wrote