Andrew Strauss has since stood down as captain, with Alastair Cook now charged with leading the team on the road to recovery although a four-Test series in India looks extremely difficult on paper and that’s the way that the bookies also see it.
The Indians might have suffered a whitewash defeat in England eighteen months ago although the conditions are a good deal different and the home side are a best price 4/7 (BetVictor free bets) to be celebrating a series victory.
Fast bowler Steven Finn has been ruled out of the first Test in Ahmedabad although the tourists have welcome Kevin Pietersen back into the fold after the all-rounder made his peace with the ECB and it’s clear that England are a stronger force with KP in the team.
Quite whether they are good enough to reverse a decline which has lasted twelve months is another matter, although Sportingbet offer 9/2 about an English win in the southern hemisphere, while the draw can be backed at 9/2 with the same firm.
Perhaps the visitors can keep things level in Ahmedabad on a pitch which traditionally doesn’t yield too many results and the draw is trading at 6/4 with Sportingbet, with the price set to go odds-on if the first session doesn’t yield any wickets.
The Indian team’s strength is their batting line-up, with Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag among the favourites to score the most runs for their team, although Sachin Tendulkar remains in the team and this legend of cricket can be backed at 5/1 (Stan James) to score the most first innings run for his side.
The Little Master didn’t exactly have a good time of things last year when chasing down his 100th international century on English pitches although he will still be the prized wicket among the England bowlers.
India are 11/8 (Ladbrokes bookmaker) to win this First Test and we should note that they are unbeaten at home in eight years, with England having not won a series in India for 28 years.
Having said that, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid are no longer around for the home side, some of the players are out of form and there is the typical pressure on the home team from an expectant nation.
England are 9/2 with William Hill to surprise everyone with a 1st Test victory and you would have to think this can only be achieved if players like Pietersen step up to the mark, with KP available at 7/2 to score the most runs for his team.