With the IPL inching towards an end, Test match cricket once again takes centre stage as India have a tough summer to contend with in the future. The Test series against England is considered to be one of the most highly anticipated contests ever especially since the Poms’ magnificent performance in the Ashes.
And former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham believes that India will have to prove their number one status in Tests when they tour the country in July.
"India are currently ranked No. 1 in the world and they got there by playing some decent cricket, mainly at home. But when you consider that they have only beaten Bangladesh and New Zealand in their last six away trips, then you realise that they have got a bit to prove to people this summer," Bothan wrote in his column for British newspaper Mirror.
During the tour, India will play four Tests – the first of which starts at Lord's on July 21 – five ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 match. Botham’s confidence reached another level when he showed scant respect to ICC's ranking system, and rated England as the best team in the longer version of the game at present.
"The England Test team is the best in world cricket and they will prove it beyond doubt this summer. Forget the rankings designed by men with computers who believe that logarithms can tell us who is playing the best cricket more accurately than we can see with our eyes," the former English captain insisted.
"England are unbeaten in seven series with six of them ending in victory for Andrew Strauss' side, and the pinnacle of these was the magnificent Ashes campaign last winter. That sealed it for me. Not just because it was the Ashes and winning them in Australia is notoriously difficult, but because they did it so comprehensively and in such style," Botham said.
His reasons to back the English are pretty clear as he relives the team’s dominating performance against the Aussies in the Ashes.
"It takes something special to win Down Under, but it takes a rare gem of a side to do it with three innings defeats and leave the Australians floundering around looking for someone to blame before turning on each other," he added.
Botham’s vision for the future is pretty grand as he compares the current English side to great teams of the past.
"Between now and then, the target is sustained world supremacy. Outside the great Australian and West Indies teams, no other side has dominated the game and England have the chance to put themselves in that position," the former all-rounder concluded.