India are set to play a couple of tour matches before their five-game Test series against England. Skipper Virat Kohli had earlier said that the Indian cricket team “obviously wanted” first-class matches to prepare for the Test series and that he had no idea why they had not been arranged yet.
According to Cricbuzz, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has now accepted the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) request for arranging the tour games following conversations between BCCI secretary Jay Shah, ECB chairman Ian Watmore and CEO Tom Harrison.
"We are aware of a request from the BCCI to play a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI as part of the Indian Men's Test team's build-up to the five-match Test series.
“We are working through the operations and COVID-19 protocols to ensure we are able to deliver this and will confirm in due course," an ECB spokesperson said.
The Indian team -- currently on a break following the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton -- is scheduled to assemble in Durham on July 14. They will begin their Test series preparation at the Riverside ground in Chester-le-Street in Durham, and the tour games are also expected to be scheduled in due course at the same venue.
They will proceed south from Durham to Nottingham, where the first Test of the series starts at Trent Bridge on August 4. India had won their only match of the previous five-Test tour in 2018 at Trent Bridge.
India appear to have had a rethink recently on the utility of tour matches against local host sides. Earlier, they had come around to the view that neither the opposition nor the pitches were usually up to standard in such matches. They had determined then that centre-wicket practice and intra-squad practice games would provide better preparation instead.
Featured photo : Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP