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England vie to shrug off burden of defeats against mighty India
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England vie to shrug off burden of defeats against mighty India

Pre-tournament favourites England have suffered back-to-back losses against Sri Lanka and Australia, leaving them in a precarious spot in the points table as their chances of qualification into the next round hang by a thread.

The World Cup hosts now turn to face India, the only unbeaten side in the tournament thus far, at Edgbaston where despite England being the home team, a sea of blue awaits them in the stands.

England's campaign has become what many feared it would be - a mesh of lofty promises of batting dominance falling short whenever the pitch has offered some assistance to the bowlers.

England's famed aggressive approach that led them to the number one ranking in ODI cricket following the 2015 World Cup debacle has now come under scrutiny for its shallowness and inability to adapt according to different match situations and pitch conditions.

The uphill task against India would decide how much closer England is towards securing a semi-final berth and whether they might be willing to make any changes to the usual game plan.

India, on the other hand, have been clinical in all of their performances in the tournament.

Fresh from a thumping win over the West Indies, currently there does not seem to be any underlying weakness in the Indian team.

While the players seem to tick all the boxes for the Indian think tank, they have a rather envious headache as they ponder upon changing a winning combination in light of Bhuvneshwar Kumar's return to full fitness.

Jason Roy's possible return

England were dearly missing Jason Roy, who suffered a hamstring injury against the West Indies, at the top of the innings in the last few games.

The opening batsman was replaced with James Vince who instead churned out a poor string of scores, repeating his age-old problems of negotiating with balls outside the off-stump.

Although England skipper Eoin Morgan has not confirmed Roy's inclusion in the playing XI, even a half-fit Roy could be gambled on to provide them with a much-needed victory.

Vijay Shankar's place in the side

All-rounder Vijay Shankar has attracted a bit of backlash from Indian cricket fandom for his low scores in the tournament.

Although he has not had a terribly dreadful time out in the middle, it is the excitement that a player like Rishabh Pant, presently warming the bench, brings to the game is what is quickly catching up on Shankar.

The no.4 batsman has been tasked with the responsibility to shepherd the middle order and he is yet to strike an innings which establishes his credentials as a specialist top order player.

Shankar would thus be hoping his day comes against under-pressure England as he finds his feet in international cricket.

Squads

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav