Of India’s touring party currently warming up for a Test series against England later this summer, only three have played a Test match on these shores before.
For a nation that has not taken too well to travelling in the recent past – it’s been three years since they last won a five-day game away from home – coming to play in England is likely to be one of the biggest challenges they face in their careers.
The decision, therefore, to install Rahul Dravid as the team’s mentor immediately strikes as a good one.
The former Indian captain, who has been filling the same advisory role with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL since retiring, was one bright spot in the side’s last tour of England, back in 2011.
Although India lost 4-0 and were roundly embarrassed in all forms of the game, Dravid flourished in red-ball cricket, scoring three centuries.
His experience of playing successfully in English conditions will be vital to the squad as they learn to cope with a swinging ball and seaming wickets.
India are 15/8 to kick off the five-match series with a win and 13/8 to take the series as a whole. They will never have a better chance of correcting their losing away form as England continue to suffer the effects a rebuild brings.
Sri Lanka, who claimed the first Test series win in England in their history earlier this summer, showed that Asian teams can prosper in English conditions and with Dravid now on board, India will be tapping into a wealth of knowledge as to how to win their own series.
Six of Dravid’s 36 Test centuries came in this country and he averaged 68.80 here from 13 matches, and he was the winning skipper in India’s 2007 tour of England.
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