India likely to play tour games ahead of England Tests

The BCCI has formally requested the ECB to organise a three-day warm-up match against a county select XI side for the Indian team ahead of the Test series.

India captain Virat Kohli during the World Test Championship final. - AP

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has formally requested the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to organise a three-day warm-up match against a county select XI side for the Indian team ahead of the Test series, which begins on August 4 in Nottingham.

Confirming the development, an ECB spokesperson told Sportstar: "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.

Even though sources in the BCCI indicated that the match could be held between July 20 and 23, the ECB spokesperson clarified: "We are working through the operations and COVID-19 protocols to ensure we are able to deliver this and will confirm in due course."

Sportstar understands that the BCCI secretary Jay Shah had a call with ECB chief Ian Whatmore and Tom Harrison recently to discuss the issue.

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After spending two weeks in London, the Indian team will assemble in Durham for a camp beginning on July 15. As of now, the team plans to play intra-squad matches at the Riverside and prepare at the venue until August 1.

After losing the final of the World Test Championship last week, India captain Virat Kohli had said that the team had wanted to play some warm-up games against county teams ahead of the England Tests. With protocol and bio-bubble in place, it looked difficult initially, but now, with the BCCI formally putting in a request, the team is likely to get a game against a selected XI.

Talking to Sportstar, a spokesperson at Durham said that they are awaiting the details. "As far as we are aware everything will be in a bubble, behind closed doors," the spokesperson said. 

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