Although Cricket is not my personal forte’, we have been closely following a brilliant tipster on Twitter – @BudgetBetting1 – Well worth a follow. He has kindly offered us the chance to post his Preview for the England vs India series, and his Top Tips. With him being new to the scene (in terms of a Twitter page) we thought it would be a good move for all if his Tips were given a larger platform to showcase his talents. Anyway, enough from me – Here is the preview:
Top India Batsman – Cheteshwar Pujara
@ 4/1 (Bet365)
Pujara is India’s number 3 batsman and is effectively the anchorman of their innings. He has an excellent temperament accompanied with an almost flawless technique and is therefore capable of batting for long periods of time, which is of course an essential attribute for a top order batsman in test match cricket. He does sometimes suffer from lapses in concentration, as with any batsman, but he is in no way reckless and you will rarely, if ever, see him carelessly throw his wicket away. The same cannot be said of other batsmen in India’s top order such as Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
Statistically speaking, Pujara is the stand out batsman in this India line up. He has an exceptional average of 58.92, having scored 1650 runs from 32 innings with a career best of 203 not out. He is just 71 runs behind the classy Virat Kohli having played 10 innings less, so it almost seems unfair that Pujara is not the stand out favourite in this market ahead of Kohli. Pujara has scored 4 fifties and 6 hundreds which represents a fantastic conversion rate – he is certainly a difficult man to get out.
Elsewhere, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane are all relatively inexperienced on the test match scene and have only played 30 innings between them. It remains to be seen whether these 3 players have the consistency and temperament that Pujara appears to possess in abundance. Of course they are all very talented batsmen but I’m not sure they will be able to consistently score runs on this tour.
There’s not much to go off in terms of form other than the recent tour matches. Pujara did pretty well though in his 2 innings, scoring 57 against Leicestershire and 81 against Derbyshire, showing that he is clearly in decent nick. He will be feeling reasonably confident going into this series after getting a few runs under his belt early on in the tour. Meanwhile most of his team mates seemed to struggle somewhat.
Pujara is perfectly suited to the 5 day format of the game. I’m not sure the same can be said of many more of the batsmen in this Indian batting line up though. To me, Dhawan and Vijay in particular seem to be more suited to the one day and T20 formats. Meanwhile Sharma and Rahane are not yet proven on the test match circuit. Of course Kohli will provide Pujara with stiff competition but he offers very little value in this market at a best price of 11/4.
Pujara’s tremendous levels of concentration and his ability to bat for hours on end without getting frustrated could be the key for India in terms of their batting. They have plenty of stroke makers to score runs in good time, but you also need a batsman to hold the innings together and preserve his wicket – Pujara could well be that man. England have struggled in terms of their wicket-taking recently, as was highlighted against Sri Lanka. Their lack of a world class spinner doesn’t help either. Pujara could prove a very stubborn opponent for England on this tour; there is a chance the English bowlers will find it difficult to get him out, particularly when the ball isn’t swinging. I do believe that India will struggle in this test series but I also believe that Pujara will be one of the main positives to come out of it for this new-look Indian side. For me, he is the stand out candidate to be India’s top batsman
England Most Series Wickets – Liam Plunkett
@ 9/2 (SkyBet)
Liam Plunkett is a name we hadn’t heard for a while, until he returned to test cricket to play the 2 match series against Sri Lanka. Although he struggled in the 1st test, only taking 2 wickets, he was the stand out performer in the 2nd as he took a highly impressive 9 wickets. Plunkett has bulked up considerably since he last played test cricket and as a result has become a lot quicker and more hostile. With several years of regular county cricket under his belt he has vastly improved as a bowler and has clearly been training exceptionally hard. He could well be that fearsome bowler England have been longing for.
I believe that the Indian batsman will struggle against the pace and bounce of Plunkett on this tour, and it should also be mentioned that they will know very little about him. The Indians are used to slow, low pitches and so facing Plunkett will not be a desirable prospect for them. Of course facing Anderson and Broad, or potentially Jordan if he is picked, will prove a tough challenge, but the Indians will not fancy the extra pace and bounce that Plunkett possesses. For me, he could be the game changer in this series. On the back of the 9 wickets that he took against Sri Lanka in the 2nd test, I cannot see him being dropped unless he has 2 or 3 stinkers in a row. I believe that Chris Jordan is the more likely candidate to be dropped for Ben Stokes. At 9/2 this bet is well worth a punt in my opinion.
England to Win the Series
@ 11/10 (Betfred, Betway, Betfair)
England to Win the Series 2-1
@ 15/2 (SportingBet)
Personally, I believe that England will have too much for India in this series. The Indians have been truly woeful on their travels in test cricket and haven’t won away from home in an astonishing 3 years. England haven’t been convincing of late though and have failed to win in their last 8 tests. It is going to be a very tight series that’s for sure, and the rain will likely play a big part (after all this is England we’re talking about). For that reason, along with England’s over-cautiousness, I think that we will see a couple of draws in this series. I also think that India’s powerful battling line up will get the better of England at least once and see them win one of the matches in this series. But overall, I think that the home advantage and inexperience of this Indian side will see England edge the series 2-1.