Rohit Sharma says ODI series against England crucial for India's 2019 World Cup preparations

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Rohit Sharma feels the three ODIs could reveal a lot about the Indian side.

India vice-captain Rohit Sharma insists their one-day international tour will be crucial to their World Cup preparations.

The tourists face England the first of a three-match ODI series at Trent Bridge on Thursday having won the T20 campaign 2-1.

England are number one in the ODI rankings, with India second, and hit a record 481 for six in Nottingham in their victory against Australia last month.

England and Wales host the World Cup next year allowing India to hone their skills in this country.

Sharma said: “It is very important, since the World Cup is going to be played in this part of the world.

“In terms of preparation it’s very important, in terms of our combinations and what our targets are going to be .

No1 ranked England will battle No2 ranked India in the ODI series.

No1 ranked England will battle No2 ranked India in the ODI series.

“We have seen England against Australia and they were really high scoring games, it’s gong to be crucial to see where we are as a team.

“In the last year or so we have played some good cricket, in and out of India, this tour brings another challenge for us.”

England whitewashed Australia 5-0 last month and their record score at Trent Bridge last month has left expectations of another big knock. But Sharma insists India will remain calm even if they need to chase down a mammoth target.

He said: “This team likes chasing down targets. Whatever we do we don’t go out and bat like we have to score 400 runs. We bat normally and see where you are at 30 overs and analyse it.

“We noticed the last series played here it was high scoring games and this is where they scored 481 runs.

“I’m expecting nothing else than a high-scoring series. It’s always nice to see the score in front of you and see how you can bat.”

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Brad Hogg wants India to unleash Kuldeep Yadav in Test series against England

Sudhir Gupta 11/07/2018
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Hogg wants India to field Kuldeep Yadav in the Test series.

Kuldeep Yadav’s left-armed wrist-spin is already proving to be the major talking point in India’s ongoing tour of England. The 23-year-old became the first chinaman bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul in T20I cricket when he returned with figures of 5-24 at the series opener in Manchester.

The youngster then went wicketless in the second T20 at Cardiff before being dropped from the line-up in the decider as India went on to capture the three-match series by 2-1.

Former Australia spinner Brad Hogg, who was a successful chinaman bowler himself, believes that Kuldeep should be a part of India’s Test squad for the five-match series which will follow the ODIs. Kuldeep has played only two Tests so far in his young career after making his debut against Australia in March last year. He managed to pick up nine wickets in the two games.

“Kuldeep provides the much-needed variety to the Indian spin attack and I would definitely have him in the Test squad,” Hogg told the Press Trust of India.

Hogg feels England have a big weakness against spinners.

Hogg feels England have a big weakness against spinners.

“I feel Kuldeep attacks the stumps a lot more and his quick-arm action does bamboozle the opposition. Having said that, I would like to see him bowl a lot quicker when he sees the batsmen step out and attack him. It will not allow the batsmen to play the power-strokes,” the Aussie added.

Hogg, who played seven Tests, 123 ODIs and 15 T20s for Australia in his career, feels England’s batsmen have an inherent weakness against spin.

“English batsmen tend to sweep as they are scared to use their feet. Also, they don’t pick the ball from the spinner’s hand. Kevin Pietersen was the exception. Bowling against him was difficult because he had quick feet and also possessed a long reach. He could reach off to good length deliveries and negate the spin. But England don’t have the luxury of having someone like KP in their top-order,” Hogg explained.

All eyes will now be on how Kuldeep performs in the three-match ODI series which gets underway at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday.

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Bangladesh have their backs against the wall as West Indies search for rare Test series win

Waseem Ahmed 11/07/2018
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The visitors were abysmal in the first Test at Antigua.

West Indies will look to seal a series win when they take on Bangladesh in the second and final Test at Kingston on Thursday.

The hosts completed a thumping victory by an innings and 219 runs in the first Test at North Sound to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

For Bangladesh, the ignominy of being bowled out for 43 runs in the first innings at North Sound – their lowest Test total in history – will still be fresh in the mind when they take to the field on Thursday. Shakib Al Hasan’s men were slightly better in the second innings but even then, they could only muster 144 runs.

The visitors will be looking for their senior players in Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah to give a much better account of themselves with the bat after the four could only garner 51 runs between themselves in the two innings at North Stand.

The hosts will be banking on their in-form pace attack once again with Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins and skipper Jason Holder forging a lethal battery in recent times. Gabriel, in particular, has been in outstanding form with three five-wicket hauls in as many Tests.

West Indies' pacers have been on song in the series.

West Indies’ pacers have been on song in the series.

They will be without the services of Roach for the clash with the pacer being given a rest after straining his hamstring in the first Test. He will be replaced by Alzarri Joseph in the line-up.

The Windies are currently ranked in ninth in the ICC Test table, one place behind Bangladesh in eighth. Holder’s men will leapfrog the subcontinent side in the table if they secure a series win.

Since 2014 when they beat the same opposition by 2-0 at home, the Caribbean outfit have only won one Test series – against Zimbabwe – in the 12 they have participated in. Despite their record, the hosts have shown they are clearly on an upward march and will look to seal a rare series win.

LIKELY XIs

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel.

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Monimul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mehidy Hasan, Kamrul Islam, Abu Jayed, Shafiful Islam.

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