44 for England tour, former cricketers stumped!

Vikram Rathour, also a former BCCI selector, and Madan Lal laud the board for sending almost the entire pool of Indian cricketers to England.

From Ajinkya Rahane to Prithvi Shaw (right), Indian cricket’s massive pool will travel to England in the June-July period.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Before the tour of South Africa in January, the Indian cricket team didn’t play any warm-up games. The think tank had cancelled the only practice match at Euroland Boland Park and opted for training sessions instead. As India lost the first two Tests, it took the flak for being underprepared.

On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India ensured there is no such criticism when the team tours Ireland and England from June to September. The BCCI — comprising the senior’s team and India A across formats — named 44 cricketers in the selected list.

Along with 18 seniors for the T20Is and ODIs against England and Ireland, 26 youngsters have earned a berth in India A.

The schedule

The seniors will start their tour with a two-match T20I series against Ireland from June 27. They will move to England for a three-match T20 series from July 3, followed by a three-match ODI series from July 12. The five Tests — at Edgbaston, Lord’s, Trent Bridge, Southampton and Kennington Oval — will begin from August 1.

On the other hand, India A will kick off its tour with a tri-series followed by three four-day games — two against West Indies A (July 4-7 and July 10-13) and one against England Lions from July 16 to 19.

Boost for youngsters

Former India cricketer Vikram Rathour, who made his Test debut in England in 1996, lauded the effort of sending the entire pool. “I think it’s really good. Some of them are also playing the county. And now, with a few of them travelling with India A, it will give them some time to acclimatise. This could be a really good idea,” Rathour told Sportstar on Tuesday.

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The 49-year-old Rathour, also a former BCCI selector, recalled that county was the only tournament to prepare for an England tour back in the day. “We had quite a lot of practice games. Cricketers played a lot of county but it stopped afterwards. In the later tours, there was hardly anytime spent before the Test matches.”

Rathour believes the youngsters will also stand a chance to break into the senior team if they do well for India A. “As the main team is travelling to England at the same time, this gives the youngsters a great opportunity. If somebody does really well, he can get a chance. You never know, there could be injuries or loss of form for a senior player,” he added.

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Former India cricketer Madan Lal, who also coached India for a year (1996-1997), agreed that he never witnessed such a pool before. “It has never happened. This is great. You can go there and train to get used to the conditions. It is good that so many cricketers are getting a chance. The board is trying to create a bigger pool. It is a good sign in Indian cricket,” Lal told this publication.

“When you travel, it is important to do well in those conditions and earn an opportunity to play for India. This is their chance. At the moment, Indian cricket is doing well. There are so many talented players — like Sanju Samson, Ankit Rajpoot, Ishan Kishan to name a few — but only 15 players will be selected for the main team. But they are all as good as anybody else,” added Lal.

Among the cricketers named in India A, there are players like Rajneesh Gurbani, R. Samarth, Hanuma Vihari and Abhimanyu Easwaran who remained unsold at the Indian Premier League auctions, which proves IPL isn’t the only threshold to big tickets.

The full-list of players, India A and India, for tour of England

1. Karun Nair (c) 2. R. Samarth 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Abhimanyu Easwaran 5. Prithvi Shaw 6. H. Vihari

7. Ankit Bawne 8. Vijay Shankar 9. KS Bharat (wk) 10. Jayant Yadav 11. Shahbaz Nadeem

12. Ankit Rajpoot 13. Mohammad Siraj 14. Navdeep Saini 15. Rajneesh Gurbani 16. Shreyas Iyer

17. Shubman Gill 18. Sanju Samson 19. Deepak Hooda 20. Rishabh Pant (wk) 21. K. Gowtham

22. Axar Patel  23. Krunal Pandya 24. Prasidh Krishna 25. Deepak Chahar 26. Khaleel Ahmed

27. Shardul Thakur 28. Virat Kohli (c) 29. Shikhar Dhawan 30. Rohit Sharma

31. K.L. Rahul 32. Suresh Raina 33. Manish Pandey 34. M.S. Dhoni (wk) 35. Dinesh Karthik

36. Yuzvendra Chahal 37. Kuldeep Yadav 38. Washington Sundar 39. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

40. Jasprit Bumrah 41. Hardik Pandya 42. Siddharth Kaul 43. Umesh Yadav 44. Ambati Rayudu