Indian thoughts return to cricket
Cricket has essentially been in limbo since the horrific attacks by gunmen on Mumbai.
But for fans of England and India, thoughts will finally return to matters on the field on Thursday when captains Kevin Pietersen and Mahendra Dhoni walk out for the toss at Chennai.
While England's cricketers left India to return to their families - before eventually flying most of the way back for a brief training camp in Abu Dhabi - India's players have also been looking at ways to fill up the time.
Sachin Tendulkar, the most famous sportsman Mumbai will probably ever produce, gave one moving interview describing his reaction to the tragedy in his hometown.
A man who does not often betray his emotions, he revealed: "I have been disturbed... tracking the horrific images of mayhem on television. I couldn't sleep all this time. I am numb. The images keep playing in my head."
Deprived of sleep or otherwise, he found time to show his magnanimous side, taking time out from a net session to give some tips to Mumbai's women players.
There are few records left for him to break but if anyone can shake off the emotional side of things swiftly, and focus his entire energies on tuning back into the demands of Test cricket, then he can. Don't be surprised to see the Little Master taking another century off England.
Yuvraj Singh once again gets a chance to see whether he can translate prolific one-day success to the Test arena. This time he replaces the retired Sourav Ganguly, and he was awesome with bat and ball against England in the prematurely-concluded one-day series.
A natural entertainer, Yuvraj too gave a thoughtful interview a few days after the Mumbai atrocities, which began not long after India had beaten England in the fifth one-day international.
"I was in the team bus on my way to the hotel when my mother called and told me about the attacks," he said.
"Everyone in the team was shaken. Till five in the morning, we were glued to the television set in Harbhajan Singh's room and kept calling our friends and family members.
"It was an unforgettable night, a tragic event. People's lives are more important than cricket. India will not forget this event easily."
The effervescent skipper Dhoni, meanwhile, is donating his match fees for the Test series of £8,000 to the victims of the attacks. He has also asked his team-mates not to indulge in excessive celebrations and to show some restraint on the field.
Having spent most of the intervening period with his family in Jharkand - India's players have been given some time off - Dhoni arrived in Chennai a day earlier than his team-mates, apparently to film a commercial.
He was accompanied through the airport on Sunday by the Black Cat commandos fans will see rather a lot of during this series.
The off-the-field security situation regarding the series will dominate the headlines and the players' thoughts but once they cross the rope on Thursday morning, they will have to focus on the cricket.
Virender Sehwag, whose recent engagements have included handing out prizes to the top chess and kho-kho players at a school in Chennai, was in wonderful form in the one-dayers and could quite easily take his form onto the Tests, where he and Gautam Gambhir are proving to be an entertaining double act.
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid make up the formidable batting line-up, though the former has never hit a century against England and the latter has been in poor form. A brilliant batsman at his peak, Dravid may choose to retire when the series finishes, regardless of his performances.
For once, India also pose a major threat with their fast bowlers, not historically an area of strength for them.
Even if the wickets are pretty lifeless, the seam, swing and pace offered by Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma with the red ball could prove a searching examination of a potentially brittle England top order.
Not that long ago Zaheer was slithering down the greasy ladder from high achievement towards obscurity, a journey frequented by many an Indian seam bowler in past times.
But in 2006, he gave his game that extra edge from which Australians have so often profited - a summer in county cricket.
The results were outstanding - 78 wickets for Worcestershire at an average of 29.07 in England's County Championship was a wonderful return, but equally importantly he got through a huge workload of 600 overs.
Ever since then his action has been solidly grooved and reliable, he looks as strong as an ox, at 30 his pace is back to where it was as a young man - and he can still move the ball both ways at will.
He was man of the series when India won the Tests in England the following year, and turned Matthew Hayden into a nervous wreck in the 2-0 Test series success at home to Australia this autumn.
But he was nevertheless eclipsed in that rubber by Sharma.
He is only 20, and has just 13 Tests to his name, and yet Sharma has already won high praise from some of the harshest critics, including Steve Waugh.
In that same series against Australia a few weeks back, he collected man of the series for his 17 wickets, bowling long spells in harsh conditions with remarkable accuracy and confidence - though not of the arrogant kind.
Like Zaheer, he moves the ball both ways - clearly a requirement of the Test pacemen employed by India coach Gary Kirsten and his skilful bowling sidekick Venkatesh Prasad.
But with more height and a dash more pace than the older man, Sharma is potentially an even more awkward customer for England to deal with. And Pietersen's men would do well to ignore his waywardness in the aborted one-day series. (He had, in any case, only just returned to fitness).
Completing the four-man bowling line-up are spinners Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh.
Mishra, the leg-break bowler who did so well on debut against Australia, will be bowling against a side noted for their fragile record against wrist-spinners.
England are taking young Yorkshire leggie Adil Rashid with them, presumably so he can give the tourists some preparation for dealing with Mishra. But I strongly suspect Rashid does not have a googly to match the one that Mishra memorably pinned Michael Clarke lbw with in Mohali.
Harbhajan, meanwhile, has 33 wickets in nine matches against England. Expect some interesting tactical exchanges between him and Pietersen.
Now that England have gone back to India, fans of the game will hope to see some competitive cricket over the two Test matches.
However whichever side comes out on top, the real winner will be the game of cricket.