New Delhi -The absence of hard-hitting Virender Sehwag could affect India's hopes of imposing themselves early in the Test series in England that starts on Thursday, former Australia captain Ian Chappell has warned.
Opener Sehwag, known for dominating bowlers with exciting strokeplay, is recovering from a shoulder injury and is set to miss the first two Tests of the four-match series.
"There's no batsman in the world who can disrupt bowling plans quicker than Sehwag," Chappell wrote in his Sunday column on the ESPN Cricinfo website.
"It appears that fate has come down ever so slightly in England's favour. The first two venues in this series, Lord's and Trent Bridge, are known to favour swing bowling.
"England's ability to swing both the new and old ball is a big reason behind their recent rise up the rankings. In addition, India are missing their greatest counter-attacking weapon."
Sehwag played a key role in India's six-wicket win over England in the first Test of the last series between the two countries in 2008 when he hammered a 68-ball 83 to help his team achieve a stiff 387-run target in Chennai.
"The one time a captain should not be overly cautious is at the start of a series, when a team can take a huge step towards mental superiority by being aggressive," said Chappell.
"This is where Sehwag's absence hurts India; being at the top of the order, he's likely to gain the upper hand in the series just by batting normally in the first session."
Sehwag has so far scored 7 694 runs in 87 Tests with 22 centuries since making his debut in 2001.
The match at Lord's will be the cricket's 2 000th Test match, with Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar on the verge of an unprecedented 100th international century. He has already scored 51 hundreds in Tests and 48 in one-day internationals.
India, who won their last Test series in England in 2007 under Rahul Dravid, will also play five one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 match during the tour.