India Tour of England: BCCI & ECB confirm, Virat Kohli’s Team India to play two intra-squad matches in Durham

Ind vs Eng: After WTC debacle, BCCI requests ECB for warm-up matches
Ind vs Eng: After WTC debacle, BCCI requests ECB for warm-up matches. ©IE

India tour of England, Ind vs Eng Series: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), after the World Test Championship debacle, has requested the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for warm-up matches before the five-Test series slated from August 4. However, the ECB has confirmed that there will be no warm-up matches. Instead, India will play two intra-squad matches as planned in Durham. India suffered an embarrassing eight-wicket loss against New Zealand in the WTC Final.

To avoid a repeat of such a result, BCCI secretary Jay Shah will speak to ECB chairman Ian Whatmore and CEO Tom Harrison for a competitive warm-up game. According to a Cricbuzz report, BCCI has already sent a formal request to ECB and the final decision will be taken in a day or two. But the ECB has denied receiving such a request.

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“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,” an ECB spokesperson told TOI. But the ECB refused to confirm BCCI’s official request for warm-up matches. “No not that we are aware of,” the spokesperson added.

India tour of England, Ind vs Eng: Initially, Virat Kohli and company was scheduled to play India ‘A’, who were also supposed to be in the UK for two first-class games at Northamptonshire and Leicestershire respectively. But the current COVID situation in the country and the travel restrictions, the plans have been shelved. Instead, a camp in Durham has been set up.

India Tour of England, Ind vs Eng Series: Kohli and Co three-week vacation likely to get cancelled

The touring party is scheduled to take a three weeks break and will be dispersing to various parts of the country for holidays. They will gather for a pre-series camp at the Emirates Riverside n Durham on July 16 or 17, the Cricbuzz reported added.

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However, InsideSport has learnt that BCCI might cancel the vacation given the rising COVID cases in the UK. “We are monitoring the situation and if the conditions get worse, we will take a call,” Secretary Arun Dhumal told Inside Sport.

India are due to play two, four-day intra-squad games during their time in Durham. The ECB are currently making arrangements for the same.

However, the lack of warm-up matches is a worry as intra-squad games do not give the competitiveness needed for top-class matches.

As per the Cricbuzz report, BCCI is trying to get at least one first-class game arranged before the Test series.

That doesn’t depend on us,” the India skipper said when asked about his team’s preparation for the England series. “We obviously wanted first-class games, which I believe have not been given to us. I don’t know what the reasons for that are. But yeah, other than that I think our preparation time will be ample for us to be ready for the first Test.

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India squad will be in a bio-secure bubble once they join the camp in Durham. Moving the team from one place to another would be risky, and pose a higher threat of COVID-19 outbreak.

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Moreover, a first-class warm-up game would have an impact on England’s domestic schedule. The end of July is a busy summer in the UK, with The Hundred and Royal London One Day Cup match ongoing.

But later, on Friday, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that India will play intra-squad matches instead and won’t be getting any warm-up matches.

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