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The Fantastic Five

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The English team returns to India after a Christmas break to complete their limited overs assignment. While the Poms were completely outplayed in the Test format, they'll be seeking a turnaround in the ODIs and T20 series under captain Eoin Morgan.

As for India, Dhoni stepping down from captaincy after almost a decade signals the end of an era. With many experienced faces like Yuvraj and Nehra being brought back to the mix, it will be exciting to see what the team has got to offer.

As the Champions Trophy draws nearer, both teams would like to have their combinations sorted out. While England play a good number of ODIs this season, India don’t have any ODIs scheduled after this series. Hence, the players would like to seal their place in the squad.

Here we take a look at 5 players to watch out for, from both sides:-

Virat_Kohli_India_cricketVirat Kohli

Undoubtedly India’s best batsman in any format of the game, Kohli has already sparkled while overcoming the challenges that have come on his path. With this, his first match as a permanent captain, one will expect him to come out all guns blazing.

2016 was a year that belonged to Kohli, and his phenomenal average of 92.37 is a proof of that. He will be looking to replicate his performances from last year and keep the consistency levels up.

Pressure has always brought out the best in him and it's going to be fascinating to see how well he does as the skipper. Maintaining his reputation of being a tough guy, Virat will be looking to leave no stone unturned in his quest to dominate.

MS_Dhoni_India_CricketMS Dhoni

No longer Captain Cool, MS Dhoni will be looking forward to play role of wicketkeeper-batsman with more audacity. Without the pressures of captaincy, he’ll relish the opportunity and freedom to play some more of those power packed strokes.

For years now, he has battled as a finisher, scoring runs at a brisk pace with his prodigious hitting at the end. This has helped turn many matches in India's favour. It would be intriguing to know whether Dhoni will continue to play down the order or be promoted and take his time to settle in.

As a wicketkeeper, he has effected some lightning fast stumpings which have left the batsmen clueless. His style behind the stumps has been completely unmatched. His instincts as a wicketkeeper put him in a different class altogether. He will strive to improve some areas with the bat where he has lagged behind.

Jos_Buttler_England_cricketJos Buttler

After an average Test series, Jos Buttler will no doubt be looking to make amends in the format he's renowned for. With his aggressive batting down the order, he has helped England steal many victories from the clutches of defeat.

Jos Buttler looked quite at comfort in last year's WT20 in India as well as during his stint with the Mumbai Indians. His aim will be to build on that experience and display his hitting skills.

His strike rate in the death overs has been magnificent. He has the ability to hit any bowler out of the park on his day. The Indian bowlers should be well aware of how destructive Buttler can be.

Ravichandran_Ashwin_Cricket_IndiaRavichandran Ashwin

While he has established his supremacy in the longest format of the game, it will be interesting to see what his form is like in the limited overs internationals. This is essentially his first ODI assignment in a year, as he was rested for the New Zealand one dayers.

His control has in general been excellent and he will look to make judicious use of variations like the surprise leg spinner and the carrom ball. This has helped him baffle batsmen and take wickets at what is an alarming rate for the opposition and a delightful rate for his team.

Having played an irreplaceable role in the Test victories, now is the moment for Ashwin to unleash his potential here, just in time for the Champions Trophy.

Jason_Roy_England_CricketJason Roy

His fearless striking at the top order has earned him a lot of well deserved admiration. Earmarked for success at an early age, Jason Roy is one of England's most sensational prospects. He rode to fame on some brilliant performances in the WT20 last year in the subcontinent and no doubt intends to repeat the same.

While he has constantly been aiming to score big runs, he tends to lose focus at times and give away his wicket. This time, ideally, he should concentrate and spend as much time at the crease as possible to consolidate the visitors’ chances in the series.

Roy will aspire to make full advantage of the Power Play overs and set a healthy platform for the middle order to build on. If he gets going, it will be difficult to stop England.

 

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