Mumbai: Virat Kohli and Co travelling to England may get enough time to get acclimatised ahead of the five-Test series against England after the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand. One of the biggest challenges for Indian team will be the lack of competitive cricket for a month-and-a-half between the WTC final and the Test series.
NO WARM UP GAMES
There are no matches planned against any county team for the visitors. The Indian team will plan to play only intra-squad matches to prepare. This was confirmed by a statement from the England board in April.
The Indian team was scheduled to play India A in warm-up fixtures as per primary plans. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last month declared that the India A tour had been postponed. ECB in the statement said, “The India men's team will instead tour with a larger squad to prepare for, and use during, the five-match Test series.”
INTRA SQUAD MATCHES
The Indian team will likely play two four-day intra-squad matches. With 24 players in the squadron, including four reserves, available, the team will hardly be able to make two teams for the two warm-up matches.
Last time in 2018, the Indians had played a three-day game against Essex before the start to the Test series. The number of warm-up matches ahead of an overseas tournament has gone down in recent times amid packed schedule, which has not permitted long stays in the country. It has had adverse effect in England where the batsmen have been found wanting against extra movement on English tracks.
However, this time they will be spending three-and-a-half months in London due to two assignments but due to the COVID-19, there will still be no games with county teams where the players practice on the foreign soil.
India will also get very little time to prepare for the WTC final as they will straightaway enter the game with just three-four days of practice unlike their opponents New Zealand who would have played two Test matches against England. If we look for positive side for the visitors, the Kiwis will be forced to take the field thrice in Test matches in 17 days leaving Indians fresher and Kane Williamson's side exhausted.
According to the schedule, New Zealand play England on June 2 in the first Test. It will be followed by the second Test on June 10 before the WTC final starts on June 18. India are likely to leave for London on June 2. They then undergo 10 days of quarantine before they have 3-4 days of practice session.
INDIA SQUAD FOR WTC
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Reserved players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla
INDIA'S TOUR OF ENGLAND FULL SCHEDULE
Busy summer await Indian team as as they will first play the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand in Southampton which will be followed by a big five-match Test series against hosts England
World Test Series Final Vs New Zealand, Southampton, June 18 to June 22
Five-match Test series against England
1st Test, Nottingham, August 4 to August 8
2nd Test, Lord’s, August 12 to August 16
3rd Test, Leeds, August 25 to August 29
4th Test, London Oval, September 2 to September 6
5th Test, Manchester, September 10 to September 14