England v India: Sir Ian Botham predicts easy home victory
Last Updated: 08/07/14 3:34pm
Former captain Sir Ian Botham has predicted England will easily beat India during July and August's five-Test series.
The Indians succumbed to a four-nil defeat against the English in 2011, and have since lost the services of the retired Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.
Veteran left-armer seamer Zaheer Khan and opening batsman Virender Sehwag, too, are absent. The uncapped Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey and Pankaj Singh have since been included in the touring party - and batsman Gautam Gambhir recalled.
"It's got to be an England win for me. India's batting is very strong but it's their bowling department where they are weak. England aren't playing well but I think India's bowlers will struggle and with home advantage England will have the edge," Botham told Sky Sports.
"I think England will win the series by two Tests either three-one or two-nil, it certainly won't be as one-sided as the last time they met in England. The weather is likely to play a part in one or two matches but I think overall England to win three-one is a good bet."
I think England will win the series by two Tests either three-one or two-nil, it certainly won't be as one-sided as the last time they met in England. The weather is likely to play a part in one or two matches but I think overall England to win three-one is a good bet.
Sir Ian Botham
Fast bowler James Anderson, meanwhile, will be eager to build on the dozen wickets clinched during last month's two-Test series against Sri Lanka, which England lost one-nil.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who has recovered from a hand injury, is likely to be included in the XI for this week's series opener ahead of fast bowler Chris Jordan.
"Anderson is the man England will look to get the wickets. The value for me is with Stokes. He looks like he's back to fitness and I think they'll play him as he gives the side balance," added Botham.