England colts all set for Indian challenge

The ODIs featuring the U-19 sides is taking place weeks after England seniors failed to win the 50-over series.

England Under-19 captain Matthew Fisher with coach Andy Hurry

Touring teams spend long stretches away from home, a factor the England coach, Andy Hurry (right) felt the U-19 players need to cope with later.   -  PTI

India Under-19 squad lost its trainer, Rajesh Sawant, a day ahead of the ODI series against the visiting England. He was found dead in his room at the team hotel after a follow-up when he was found absent for team activity on Sunday morning. Rahul Dravid, team coach, cancelled a pre-match briefing though the Indian players trained at the Wankhede stadium. The first of five ODIs will start on Monday morning, followed by two four-day ties.

For visiting England U-19 side, coached by Andy Hurry, it was business as usual against local bowlers at the nets. Matthew Fisher, captain, later explained that scores in the ODIs will be lower than runs accumulated by the seniors, currently in India. “We want to play the style of cricket the way seniors play, we are working towards it,” he said, replying to a query about the U-19 approach in matches. “Scores will be lower since we are short on strength and power to clear the field.”

England seniors scored 350-plus in two of three ODIs against the home side, though finishing on the losing side. Hurry was clear about the series being competitive. “This is sport, we love competition,” said the visitors coach, talking in detail about the exposure aspect of the tour to the sub-continent. “First and foremost, this is a fantastic opportunity for these developmental players to experience the challenge of playing in the sub-continent, to gain awareness of the cultural differences between the two counttries.”

Talking about the opportunity to play cricket and live in an environment passionate about the sport, the England coach said: “From a competitive perspective, it (series) is expected to be really challenging. It provides players of this potential and at a young age, the experience against an international side in these conditions.” Fisher added: “We are just looking to learn, develop and test our skills in conditions we are not accustomed to.”

Focussing on the cricketing aspects, he said: “There is a lot of talk about spin out here, so our batsmen are doing training against spin and looking to rotate strike. For me, this tour is about going away knowing with a bit more about sub-continent conditions about batting and bowling.” Fisher played for Yorkshire in a competitive county tie at 15 years, 212 days and is perceived as a fast bowling prospect for England.

The ODIs featuring the U-19 sides is taking place weeks after England seniors failed to win the 50-over series. Asked to explain the value of exposure tours, in case any of the U-19 players move up the ranks and tour India in future, Hurry pointed out: “One of the key purpose to be here as a squad is to present the young players a chance to experience some of the challenges the senior team faced in the recent weeks and give them an insight into playing on turning pitches against spin bowling.”

Touring teams spend long stretches away from home, a factor the England coach felt the U-19 players need to cope with later. “It is not just about cricket, such a tour is about the experience of spending a considerable amount of time away from home, like the seniors do, living in hotels in each other’s company 24x7. When they get to play for the senior side, they will understand,” he said, pointing out that England touring when it is off-season back home is a major challenge.

Teams (from):

India: Heramb Parab, Het Patel, Himanshu Rana, Ayush Jamwal, Vivekanand Tiwary, Prithvi Shaw, Abhishek Sharma, Shubman Gill, Harvik Desai, Rahul Desraj Chahar, Kamlesh Singh Nagarkoti, Salman Khan, Priyam Garg, Shiva Singh, Yash Thakur, Mayank Rawat, Rohan Kunnumal and Ishan Porel.

Coach: Rahul Dravid.

England: Matthew Fisher, Max Holden, Harry Brook, George Bartlett, Euan Woods, Will Jacks, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Pope, Tom Banton, Liam Patterson-White, Louie Shaw, Aaron Beard, Jack Blatherwick, Henry Brookes and Jack Bruce.

Coach: Andy Hurry.

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