The much awaited Test series between England and India will begin on August 1 at Birmingham. The five-Test series provides the opportunity for the hosts to assert their dominance at home, and the visitors to avenge their 3-1 series loss in 2014 and 4-0 loss in 2011.
It is expected to be a close encounter, given the quality both the team's possess. India can claim that they are as good as the hosts, if not better. Their batting unit comprises of star players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
The visitors though, will be vary of England's bowling unit, which will be spearheaded by James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The hosts will be heavy on pace attack, and may well go without a recognized spinner.
Though, it now seems they may have a 'wildcard' in their ranks. Joe Root, the England skipper, hardly bowls in the longer format of the game. But his recent performance with the ball in the County Championship will force India to think of him.
Root took four wickets, conceding a mere five runs in the second innings of Yorkshire's win over Lancashire. While he did dismiss three tailenders, there was also the priced scalp of Jos Buttler, who looked set on 59.
The England skipper is a priced part-time bowler to have when it comes to Test cricket. In 69 Test matches, he has 19 wickets, with a best of 2 for 9. But in all reality, it is his batting which will be a concern for India.
Root has an astonishing 5960 runs in 126 innings. He averages at an incredible 52.28, which is one of the best in the format. When India toured England in 2014, he was leading run-getter in the Test series with 518 runs in seven innings at an average of 103.60.
But he will be wary of his opposite number, Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper is presently the No.2 Test batsman, and has been a revelation ever since his failure in 2014. Kohli averages in excess of 53 in Test format, and has been breaking one record after another in the past few years.