Manchester - India's all-conquering cricketers kick off a
crunch tour of England on Tuesday with the first Twenty20 against a host side
firing on all cylinders, in the one-day format at least.
- King Kohli -
Ahead of the tour - which includes three T20s, three one-day
internationals and five Tests - here are five impact players looking to bring
the world's top ranked ODI side back to earth.
Whatever the format, India's steely skipper Virat Kohli, 29,
is one of the sport's most prolific run-scorers, smashing 455 runs in 11
limited overs matches in the 2017-18 season.
However his last tour of England in 2014 was an
uncharacteristic blip, struggling against seam and swing to manage just 134
runs in 10 innings as the tourists went down 1-3 in the Tests.
"I think lot of people have held on to the last tour of
England for too long," assures "King Kohli", as he is known,
India's cricketer of the year in 2017 for the fifth time.
- Dependable Dhoni -
He might be long in the tooth at 36 but wicketkeeper-batsman
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a rock, helping India become the world's number one
ranking Test side.
He's also a classy one-day finisher, with 882 ODI runs under
his belt in England from 25 games.
He led Chennai Super Kings to their third Indian Premier
League title in May, but this tour could determine whether he will still make
the grade for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
England's Jos Buttler showed his respect when he credited
his scintillating recent knock against Australia - sealing a 5-0 whitewash - to
channeling his inner Dhoni.
"I probably imagined what MS Dhoni would do. Look
unflustered and look calm and try not to panic," Buttler said.
- Swashbuckling Pandya -
All-rounder Hardik Pandya, 27, is India's new rock star. And
if his coloured mane and earrings provide on-field glamour, his powerful
hitting gives India muscle in the middle-order.
Compared with Indian legend Kapil Dev at the start of his
career, Pandya has however had a bumpy international ride since his Twenty20
debut in January 2016.
He announced his Test arrival with a debut century in Sri
Lanka and has slowly won favour with bat and ball, his fiery bowling picking up
65 limited-overs wickets.
"He definitely has a lot of talent, he has shown it in
the first Test but I believe he needs to work on the mental aspect," the
mighty Dev has pronounced.
- Wily Yadav -
Rising star Kuldeep Yadav, 23, has bamboozled many top
batsmen in his short career and Kohli sees him and fellow spinner Yuzvendra
Chahal as having the necessary "X-factor" to skittle England's
In the last year, the left-arm wrist spinner has taken 39
wickets in 20 one-day internationals and has forged an effective combination
Yadav is already a household name with just two Tests and 20
ODIs to his name. Last week he laid down his marker with a match-winning and
career-best 4-21 in the first T20 against Ireland.
The tour had "started well," said Yadav, but
added: "England are playing good cricket and it will be challenging for
- Clinical Kumar -
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar may well be a genuine
threat in seaming English conditions with the paceman's ability to outfox the
batsman with swing and control.
Kumar, who got the legendary Sachin Tendulkar out for his
first duck in domestic cricket as a 19-year-old, has bagged 126 wickets in ODI
Tendulkar recently termed India's pace attack as the
"most complete" in many years.
"We have the luxury where we have a swing bowler
(Kumar), a tall bowler (Ishant Sharma), a skiddy bowler (Jasprit Bumrah) and a
genuine quick bowler (Umesh Yadav)," Tendulkar was quoted as saying.