India in England: Intra-squad games for India in Durham, says ECB; no selectors allowed

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The Indian cricket team will play two intra-squad games at the Riverside ground in Durham before the five-match Test series against England as Virat Kohli’s men are unlikely to get any warm-up first-class games against county sides.

India captain Virat Kohli had expressed his displeasure at not being given any first-class games before the England series, starting in Nottingham on August 4.

“Due to COVID-19 protocols, they will play two intra-squad four-day matches before the first Test in August,” an ECB spokesperson told on Friday.

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While it is understood that BCCI had requested ECB for a few practice games, the COVID-19 situation won’t allow any such plan to go ahead.

Asked if there is any chance of a game against county sides, the spokesperson said, “No”.

In England, cricketers from various counties are regularly being tested for COVID but are not being kept in any bubble.

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The Indian team, once it assembles in London on July 14 and moves to Durham, will be once again be in a bubble.

“The domestic cricketers of England not being in a bubble is an issue for sure. That’s why the games in Durham will be intra-squad ones,” a BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.

India are currently travelling with 24 players — 20 in the official squad and four reserves — which will allow them to play intra-squad games.

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However, legends like Sunil Gavaskar have questioned the amount of preparedness that a simulated match can give the team. The touring teams, in the past, have played multiple first-class games against county sides.

In simulated matches, a player can bat again if he gets out quickly unlike a proper first-class match.

National selector Chetan Sharma not going to England.

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