Eng vs Ind, Only T20I, Manchester
A week of relative downtime, and India's tour of England is finally up and running. Three low-key county fixtures - against Sussex, Kent and Leicestershire - have given a bruised squad a chance to rediscover that winning feeling, and with a trio of hard-earned victories to fall back on, attention now turns to the limited-overs leg of their campaign, starting with the one-off Twenty20 at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
As far as India are concerned, a change ought to be as good as a rest. A chance to swap their benighted whites for their familiar blue one-day outfits is an opportunity to draw a line under their shortcomings of the Test series, and revert to the mindset of champions. After all, less than five months have elapsed since that night of nights in Mumbai, and no matter how poorly they may have fared in the interim, they'll always have that achievement to fall back on.
Wednesday's fixture, however, is unlikely to prove much about the mindset of either set of players. In Twenty20 cricket, it is England, not India, who are the reigning world champions, although their squad has little in common with the one that triumphed in the Caribbean in 2010, and has been selected very much with a view to next year's defence in Sri Lanka.
A trio of youngsters - Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes - are vying for an opportunity to present their credentials, under the leadership of Stuart Broad, whose captaincy career started edgily against Sri Lanka in June, but will doubtless have benefitted from an injection of confidence courtesy of his Man-of-the-Series performance in the Tests against India.
As for India's line-up, it's a pragmatic blend of old and new. Gautam Gambhir heads back home, and Sachin Tendulkar will sit this match out, but Rahul Dravid, at the age of 38, will make his T20I debut - in recognition, perhaps, of the liveliness of English wickets and the fallibility of some of his batting colleagues against the moving ball. With no Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Gautam Gambhir or Harbhajan Singh, among others, there's an air of experimentation on display in India's selection. But, ahead of the serious business in the ODIs, this is clearly the game in which to test the waters.
England: (possible) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Ben Stokes / Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Jade Dernbach
India: (possible) 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Rahul Dravid, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt / wk), 7 Amit Mishra, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Munaf Patel, 11 R Vinay Kumar