A Test match to be played nearly a year after its original date, the series on the line, two different-looking squads with new captains and coaches and World Test Championship points to be grabbed: India head coach Rahul Dravid is looking forward to all of it.
The last Test of the five-match series – which India currently lead 2-1 – that abruptly came to a halt last year at Old Trafford will now be played at Edgbaston starting July 1. Given the changes in the two line-ups and England’s recent 2-0 series win against Test champions New Zealand – with one match left yet – Dravid said the dynamics of the series won’t be the same.
“In terms of the Test match, it is obviously going to be exciting,” Dravid said on Sunday in Bengaluru. “For us it is a one-off Test match, but it’s WTC points. It’s a series on the line for the guys who played a part in it [last year], and they are very keen to try and win that series and do well. So looking forward to that.
“It is always lovely a Test match in England; the crowds are going to be fantastic. You expect really good crowds in England when you play Test cricket there. And England is playing really well at the moment. I mean they are playing really good cricket.
“It’s probably a bit different to when we were there last year when England was probably a little bit on the back foot. But they have played couple of good games [against New Zealand], and we have got a pretty good squad as well. Hopefully it will be a good match. [I] love watching Test cricket, love playing it, love coaching it. Looking forward to it.”
The India squad – barring those who featured in the T20Is against South Africa, and Dravid himself – arrived in England last week, and will play a four-day warm-up in Leicestershire starting Thursday.
Compared to last year, when Ravi Shastri was coach, Virat Kohli was captain and Ajinkya Rahane was vice-captain, Dravid is the new coach now, Rohit Sharma the new captain, and KL Rahul the vice-captain, although there are question marks around his fitness for the Test.
England, too, have a new management in captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, and are fresh from beating New Zealand, the highlight of which was their audacious five-wicket win at Trent Bridge where they chased down 299 at nearly six an over on the last day.