England v India, NatWest Series August 20, 2007

Spillover contests, and captains with a point to prove

Mathew Varghese



A similar sight in the ODI series would surely make Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, a pleased man © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen v RP Singh

Kevin Pietersen is by far England's best one-day batsman. He was their key player during the Test series, top-scoring with 345 runs, including two centuries. Although fellow left-armer Zaheer Khan was India's best bowler, RP Singh impressed with his performance as the third seamer in the Tests and got the better of Pietersen on four occasions. Their duel is one to watch out for in the upcoming one-day series.

Zaheer Khan v James Anderson

Zaheer is on a roll and so is James Anderson. After falling by the wayside after impressive starts to their careers both players stood out in recently-concluded Test series. Zaheer and Anderson were the highest wicket-takers for their sides, and were adjudged their team's Man of the Series for the Tests. They will have to bear the responsibility in the one-day series as well and though Zaheer may have come up trumps in the Tests - 18 wickets at 20.33 to Anderson's 14 at 35.57 - England could exact revenge if Anderson succeeds.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni v Andrew Flintoff

It is Mahendra Singh Dhoni's swashbuckling approach to batting, rather than his wicketkeeping, that has made supporters swoon over him. In 77 ODIs, Dhoni has amassed 2302 runs at an average of 46.97 and a strike-rate of 98.75. Andrew Flintoff was England's most popular cricketer after the Ashes win in 2005 but injuries have dogged him of late even threatening his future in the game. A home series could be ideal for a comeback, as Flintoff performs best at home - averaging 39.62 with the bat and 24.33 with the ball. Both India and England will expect Dhoni and Flintoff to adjust to different situations and the big-hitters could impact the outcome of the series.



Piyush Chawla may be a greenhorn in international cricket but he could trouble England's batsmen with his variations © Getty Images

Piyush Chawla v Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar's left-arm exploits in Tests has made him one of the top bowlers in the game. However, he will be up against formidable batsmen during the ODI series against India after struggling against them in the Tests where his eight wickets cost 50.37 apiece. Piyush Chawla is new to international cricket but the legspinner has got a few tricks up his sleeve, having bagged 11 wickets at 20.36 in six ODIs. Unlike Anil Kumble, Chawla's art is more about flight and loop and his googlies could bamboozle a few England batsmen.

Paul Collingwood v Rahul Dravid

After the disappointing defeat against West Indies - his first series as captain - Paul Collingwood would be hoping his side can bounce back with a win against India. He was the man who inspired England to victory in the tri-series in Australia and will play a crucial role with his batting, useful seamers, and as the team's ace fielder. Rahul Dravid had a successful run in ODIs during the early part of his tenure as captain but the debacle in West Indies and the disappointment of the World Cup has drawn criticism from various quarters. A Test series win in England was an excellent start to the season, but he will want to lead his team to a win in the ODIs. Both captains fared poorly with the bat in the Tests - Dravid's average of 25.20 was lower than Collingwood's 32.83 - but have contrasting records in ODIs in England, with Dravid averaging 55.68 while Collingwood managing only 28.93.

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