MUMBAI: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are yet to receive an official request from the BCCI for warm-up matches ahead of the five-Test series. An ECB spokesperson informed this paper that India were supposed to kick off a camp from July 15 at the Riverside ground in Durham, which will involve two intra-squad games.
“As far as we are concerned, their schedule remains the same. They have a camp in Durham from July 15 and will play two four-day intra-squad matches amongst their extended playing squad. We don’t expect this to change,” the ECB spokesperson told TOI. Asked specifically if the ECB had received a late request for warm-up games from the BCCI, the spokesperson said: “No not that we are aware of.”
After the defeat in he WTC final, Kohli had said that he wasn’t aware why India were not playing warm-up games ahead of the England series.
Warm-up game wasn’t possible ahead of WTC final
Meanwhile, it’s learnt that India could not have played a warmup game ahead of the WTC due to the strict quarantine rules of the British government regarding people arriving from “countries in the red list.” Former India captain and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and ex-selector Sarandeep Singh had pointed out their concern about India not playing a single warm-up game before the WTC final.
“Even if they asked, India couldn’t have played a warm-up game. We negotiated with the UK government to allow them to train during quarantine. Other red country entrants have to do hard quarantine with one 20 minute walk a day in a car park,” informed a source in the ICC.
They eventually played an intra-squad game to prepare themselves for the match. “What’s wrong with that? In a warm-up game, if a Kohli gets out, there’s no way he can practise on the centre wicket. He will have to bat in the nets. Whereas in an intra-squad game, even if you get out early, you can continue to bat and gain valuable practice against the best bowlers of your team,” justified a former India cricketer.
England series to kick off the next WTC cycle
The highly-anticipated India-England series in August will kick off the new two-year cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC), TOI has learnt. The first Test of the five-match series begins from August 4 in Nottingham. India’s challenge is a mighty one first up.