India coach Duncan Fletcher wary of England threat

India coach Duncan Fletcher has praised the improvement made by England since he left the set-up in 2007.

Fletcher, who guided England to the Ashes in 2005, was appointed India coach in April on a two year contract.

"England have definitely improved under Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower. They've done a really good job getting the side back on track," Fletcher said.

"They're playing good cricket at the moment, and we are going to have to play very good cricket as well."

Despite India being ranked the number one Test side in the world by the International Cricket Council [ICC], a win by at least two Tests in the upcoming four-match series would see England top the rankings.

And Fletcher - whose time in charge of England ended after a lacklustre 2007 World Cup - knows there is little to choose between the sides: "It's difficult to assess how teams are better and who the best side in the world is.

"If you want to look at the statistics, India are. But we know it's going to be an exciting series."

India captain Mahendra Dhoni believes that if his side stick to the basics, they will maintain their number one Test ranking.

"It's important to stick the basics, as we have been doing for the last two and a half years, and not thinking too much about the opposition," Dhoni said.

"England are a very good side. They've got bowlers who can get wickets and batsmen who can score plenty of runs.

"We have to be at our best, and try to do the small things right."

Dhoni's team, who won the World Cup on home soil in April and recently completed a 1-0 Test series win away to the West Indies, will be without explosive opener Virender Sehwag for at least the first two Tests of the series.

The 32-year-old also missed the tour of the West Indies to undergo surgery on his right shoulder, and Dhoni knows what a loss Sehwag will be.

"We are a side that relies on our openers, if we get off to a good start we can really capitalise with the middle order that we have," he said.

"As far as Virender Sehwag is concerned, I don't think there are many cricketers or openers in the world who have the impact he has. Of course we will miss him.

"But what's good for India is that it will give youngsters like Abhinav Mukund a chance to play," Dhoni added.

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