India cricket team will reassemble in Durham in 15 days to prepare for the five-Test series against England which starts in Nottingham on August 4.
It is learned that the players will be in and around London to spend the break after they lost the World Test Championship final in Southampton on Wednesday. It is also learned that the eight players who were not part of the 15-man squad for the WTC final had dispersed from Southampton once the match got underway last week.
India To Play 2 Intra Squad Games In Durham
As per the existing plan, the contingent will play two intra-squad games at the Riverside Ground in Durham before they travel to Nottingham for the first Test a week before the match. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reluctant to deviate from the plans of not giving any first-class games to the Indian team.
“The itinerary was made keeping the Covid protocols in place. It’s difficult to get County teams in the same bubble as the Indian team. The ECB is very careful about the safety of the players. The Indian team bubble will be made in Durham,” a BCCI source told TOI.
It also needs to be considered that the ECB will have flourishing County championships alongside the T20 Vitality Blast and the inaugural season of ‘The Hundred’ during July. The ECB would want all its resources in place at the same time.
BCCI In Talks With ECB To Ensure Two Fixtures Against County Sides
The BCCI officials had requested the first-class game as a warm-up for the England Test series, which gets underway at Trent Bridge, Nottingham from August 4. India had to play the WTC final the same way.
The team touched down in the United Kingdom on June 3, which was followed by a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Unlike New Zealand who played and won the 2 match Test series against England, India had to do with only an intra-squad game, which many deemed not sufficient practice.
While the BCCI was in talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to ensure two fixtures against county sides, different challenges due to Covid-19 and the maintaining of bio-bubble means that the same may not be provided. The Indian Test squad will now reassemble in Durham in 15 days to prepare for the five-Test series as they will be playing two intra-squad games at the Riverside Ground in Durham before leaving for Nottingham.
Virat Kohli himself had raised a valuable point about India requesting some First-Class tune-up matches before the England series but added that it was turned down. BCCI is now on the verge of placing a request with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for two warm-up games before the series against the Three Lions. Earlier, it was confirmed that India would field two sides as part of the warm-up fixture, before the England series.