Jumbo Indian Squad Will Fly to England to Prepare for WTC Final
India booked their place in the final of the World Test Championship with a memorable 3-1 win against England in the recently concluded Test series. They will meet New Zealand in the title clash of the inaugural edition of the WTC which is scheduled to be held from 18 to 22 June in Southampton, England.
Lack of Test Match Practice a Challenge for India
A problem that India will look to surmount before the WTC final in June is their lack of Test match practice. New Zealand, who are due to play a two-Test series against England in June, will not have to contend with the same lack. Prior to the WTC final, New Zealand are due to meet England at Lord’s from June 2 to 6, before the teams head to Edgbaston for a second Test from June 10 to 14.
IPL Schedule Will Leave No Time for Red-Ball Match Practice
Following the completion of the three-match ODI series versus England, several Indian players will be involved in T20 action in the Indian Premier League which is scheduled to be played from 9 April to 30 May across six venues.
Jumbo Squad will Fly Immediately After IPL
In the absence of practice matches ahead of the WTC championship, the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) plans to fly a jumbo squad to England ahead of the WTC final. Intra-squad matches will give the Indian team an opportunity to attune themselves to the red-ball game after a prolonged season of T20 cricket. Flying the squad to England immediately after the IPL concludes will give the Indian players sufficient time to get to terms with the playing conditions and weather in Southampton.
Plan for Intra Squad Matches Confirmed
Hampshire Cricket chairman Rod Bransgrove is reported to have confirmed BCCI’s plans to have India play intra-squad matches, “As far as I know there are no practice games organized. I understand that they (India) are bringing in a lot of players to the hotel and they will be organizing their own practice games.”
Both Teams Will Be Housed at Ageas Bowl Hotel
Bransgrove also revealed that India and New Zealand would both be housed at the Ageas Bowl, the hotel adjoining the ground in Southampton. He was reported to have told the media, “Both teams will stay at the same hotel, albeit on different floors. We have 170 rooms in that hotel and accommodating the two teams is not a problem.”
Hampshire Cricket Hopes for Lockdown Relaxation
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, strict rules are currently in place in the UK. Hampshire Cricket who are tasked with hosting India and New Zealand in Southampton for the WTC final are hopeful that the lockdown rules will be relaxed somewhat, with plans to allow some spectators to watch the WTC final at the stadium.
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