Although Alastair Cook has managed to push through the roughest period of his Test career with his captaincy intact, questions remain over the opener’s ability to lead in ODIs.
The square-jawed skipper’s circumspect style is not a natural fit for the short form of the game, but Cook will have a chance to address those issues against an India side bereft of confidence.
The hosts are 8/11 to triumph in the upcoming ODI series after winning the last three Test matches handsomely to record a 3-1 victory overall, with India 11/10.
Truth be told, neither side is a particularly inspiring ODI proposition, with India’s best form still restricted to the subcontinent and England often frustratingly conservative.
However that cautious approach will be enough to beat the visitors, who lost the pair’s last ODI series in England 3-0 back in 2011 after a similar thumping in Tests.
MS Dhoni’s side have lost their last two ODI series outside of the subcontinent without winning a match, beaten 4-0 by New Zealand in January and 2-0 by South Africa in December.
Although Dhoni himself performed well with the bat during the Test-series loss, scoring four half-centuries, the same cannot be said of the other Indian players set to play in the ODIs.
Shikhar Dhawan was dropped after three matches after averaging just 20.33, Rohit Sharma scored 34 runs in total in the one Test he played while star man Virat Kohli scraped together a mere 134 runs at 13.40 in five games.
England’s bowlers are no doubt excited to have another chance to bowl at this Indian line-up and while their top four of Cook, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance and Joe Root is far from the most exciting in world cricket, it is more dependable than the visitors’.
Some big-hitting prowess from Eoin Morgan and perhaps Alex Hales should see them pass whatever totals India can muster, especially if they continue to collapse in the face of James Anderson and Stuart Broad’s swing bowling.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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