Mark Ramprakash calls India ‘slight favorites’ in the five-match Test series against England, which begins in Nottingham on Wednesday. The former England batsman, who was previously the batting coach of the side, has his money on the ‘vastly experienced’ touring side, led by Virat Kohli.
“I am looking forward to the series. It is a series that always brings excitement. Two very good teams. England knows what conditions suit them and they know how to play these conditions. Having said that, the Indian team is vastly experienced and I think coming into the series, India are actually slight favourites,” Ramprakash said at the Sportstar Clubhouse session on Tuesday.
While he expects the five-match series to be an exciting affair, Ramprakash admits that the absence of Ben Stokes will be a huge flow for England. The star all-rounder took an indefinite break to ‘prioritise’ his mental health issues and also nurse an injury.
“It’s a huge blow for England and it comes close to the first Test match, so you really don’t have much time to adjust to the fact… it’s going to create a huge hole. We all hope that he (Stokes) feels better in the coming weeks. International players are in the bubble and are sort of restricted. So, it is tricky for some personalities to feel that they are not allowed to move freely. That can be quite stressful because international cricket is a lot of pressure. People cope in different ways. We wish Ben well and hope he feels better in the coming weeks,” Ramprakash said.
With Stokes not around, Ramprakash feels that it could have an impact in team composition as England might have to play six specialist batsmen, with Jos Buttler potentially at No.7. He is also impressed with the way Haseeb Hameed has performed recently and has made it to the side.
“I went outside the nets at Lord’s and Haseeb Hamid was batting there, he looked every inch a class player. I am happy to see him back. I was with the team when he made his debut against India (in 2016) and batted so well. He has been through tough times, but he is an excellent player. I really hope England gets him back into the team as quickly as possible,” Ramprakash said.