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It was a time of Cricket... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNX1beRgwJ8 Yes, it's proper cricket time again. England are touring India for 4 tests, 3 T20s and 5 ODIs, starting with the first test on the 15th. Fixture list here!. The build up has been... interesting. The BCCI have made another money grab and tried to extort the BBC and Sky an extra 50,000 GBP and 250,000 GBP respectively for letting TMS and Sky use facilities at the ground. The Beeb have come to an arrangement, but the last I heard Sky had not, meaning that their presenters will be sitting in a studio in the UK watching the piped-in feed from the Indian broadcaster. A bit like TalkSport used to on the radio, in the late 90s. Player wise, England's quicks are looking creaky, with both Broad and Finn carrying minor injuries and in doubt for the first test, and Stuart Meaker called up as coverage. Graeme Swann had to make a dash home to help care for his sick daughter, but is now back in India. Ian Bell will be flying back for the birth of his first child, and will miss the second test. The battle for the opening spot looks likely to be won by Nick Compton, 29 year old grandson of the legendary Denis Compton. Expect much romantic reminiscing guff. Interesting to see such a relatively old player getting his first cap - I don't think we've seen a 29 year old come into the team since Sidebottom, and even he had one previous cap. Joe Root is presumably on standby. Not sure what's happening at #6 - Bairstow or Patel? The latter provides some spin options, and has been in good form in the warm ups. I like having a fatty on the team personally, cricket and baseball are about the only two sports these days where you can get away with it. Oh, and some guy called Kevin is back in the team. I haven't heard much about him. On the India side, I believe eternal nearly-man Suresh Raina has been dropped and Yuvraj Singh has regained his place in the test team following his recovery from cancer. Good work, sir. Tendulkar is still there, but has made some vague rumblings about maybe stopping one day. I really can't predict this series - entirely depends on how weak England are against spin, I suspect. Anderson vs Tendulkar should be beautiful to watch, and I'll be very interested to see if Cook is a more tactical captain than Strauss. My one-to-watch? England's slip cordon. With the retirement of Strauss, who on earth is going to be in there? Bairstow, if playing, (wicket keeper that he is), and Anderson when he's not bowling. Compton? Maybe Patel, I hear a big man can be effective in the slips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGuPP8vLlTc