England demolished Australia in six white ball matches. The wounded, understrength Australians were no match for this England team, who look as good as anyone in the world in the shorter formats of the game.
This week, things get tougher. India’s tour begins with three T20 internationals, followed by five ODIs before the Test series later this summer. The first of those T20s is at Old Trafford this Tuesday.
Loaded with skilled bowlers and a batting line-up capable of going toe-to-toe with England, the Indians are the greatest test they can face. The odds favour England, largely down to form and the undeniable home advantage, but this will at least be a greater contest than anything we witnessed against Australia.
Virat Kohli obviously gets all the attention. The Indian skipper and superstar is the 3/1 joint-favourite to be the tourists’ top batsman. A poor run of form by his own ludicrous standards might make that price sound a bit short, but his T20 international average of over 48 suggests otherwise. It’d be a brave decision to bet against a player of his calibre.
The other two players at 3/1, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, are capable of destruction too. Each are in good form, having both notched scores well over 50 against Ireland, and could easily take the game away from England. The price is a little short for players as hot and cold as these two, mind.
All-time great wicketkeeper MS Dhoni is out at 9/1 to be India’s top batsman, which might be the best price in the market. If England somehow get the tourists on the back foot, a trademark Dhoni counter attack could result in a big individual score.
It’s no surprise to see Jos Buttler as favourite for England in the same market. Buttler annihilated the Australian bowlers in the fifth ODI and solitary T20 and has a claim to be the most dangerous batsman in the game at the moment.
The value is better for Alex Hales to be England’s top batsman, though, with odds of 4/1. Hales is almost a forgotten man in England’s line-up at times, despite his ability to win a match almost on his own. He often thrives on the big stage, and an excitable Old Trafford crowd will be just that.
The bowler odds are a lot harder to pick. Wickets in T20 often don’t fall to the bowler who produced the best spell, but who bowls at the death. Adil Rashid is favourite for England, though that 13/4 price is on the short side given the Indian’s prowess against spinners.
Liam Plunkett is out at 7/2 to be the home side’s top bowler. His direct, sharp bowling could trouble India’s batsman if the pitch provides a bit of bounce. He’s definitely the best pick from the market.
Jasprit Bumrah would have been the clear choice as India’s top bowler, but an injury sustained against Ireland has ruled him out of the series. Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is the best remaining option with a career average of 17.19 in 23 T20 internationals.
England are 7/10 favourites to win this one. It’s decent value for a team as formidable as England right now, but the EVENS on the hosts to hit more fours is probably a better bet.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*