Home > News >

India tour of England 2014: Visitors eye positive start in practice game against Leicestershire

The Indian team will play a five Tests against England © Getty Images
The Indian team will play five Tests against England © Getty Images

By Chetan Narula

Leicester: Jun 25, 2014

With an aim to bury the ghosts of a disastrous tour of 2011, a new-look Indian cricket team would be eyeing a positive start to their two-and-a-half-month long tour of England when they take on Leicestershire in a three-day practice game.

The visitors, led by skipper MS Dhoni, reached London last weekend ahead of what will be a gruelling tour, including five back-to-back Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and one Twenty20 International (T20I).

India failed to register a single win in their last tour having lost the Test series 0-4, the five-match ODI series 0-3 and also the lone T20I.

India suffered the humiliation last time in 2011 despite being equipped with seasoned campaigners like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and, of course, skipper Dhoni himself.

But with all of them missing this time, the onus will be on youngsters like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to hold fort.

Team India sneaked into the country almost unnoticed with most people either mesmerised by the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil despite England’s poor showing there, or pre-occupied with their cricket team’s first-ever home series loss to Sri Lanka.

England’s series loss to Sri Lanka bodes well for Dhoni and his young squad and the hosts will be low on confidence going into the series.

While the usual noise accompanying an Indian team is missing, this team will not be devoid of eyeballs once they take the field against Leicestershire on Thursday.

The bigger comparison to the previous tour though lies in this well-planned run-in to the first Test at Nottingham on July 9. Not only do they practice here, but the Indians will also play Derbyshire in another three-day practice match (July 1-3) before finally heading to Trent Bridge.

That means India will spend a fortnight in England before they turn their attention to the first Test.

Additionally, a majority players of this squad have been give time off after Indian Premier League 7 (IPL) and they will be well rested after a long season that included tours to South Africa and New Zealand.

The common thread between those two tours was India’s inability to win a single Test match as also the fact that they were very short trips, allowing very few opportunities to change combinations.

With two practice matches to start off a five-Test tour, the Indian team management will have six days of cricket as evidence when picking their eleven form first Test in Nottingham.

India did not have this luxury against either the Proteas or the Kiwis. And the Dhoni-led side need to grab this chance with both hands primarily because this squad is severely lacking in experience of playing in English conditions.

With Zaheer Khan missing out on selection, Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma are the only ones in the 18-member squad to have experienced Test cricket in this country.

There is a big question-mark regarding the composition of the bowling attack. With six medium pacers (plus Stuart Binny) and two spinners in the mix, it will be interesting to see which players get time in the middle in this first tour game.

The playing eleven for the tour game will reveal key pointers to the bowling composition the Indian think-tank might be contemplating for the first Test.

At the same time, the Indian batsmen need to make full use of the practice match and get quickly accustomed to the conditions that are totally differrnt to the flat-tracks back home.

The line-up that takes strike against Leicestershire will also provide a look at where Gambhir fits into the scheme of things.

The left-hander returns to the national side after spending nearly one and half years in the domestic wilderness, even as Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay continue to be the first-choice opening combination in the longer format of the game.

It should be noted here that Binny also doubles up as the only back-up batsman available to the side, and going ahead, one of the three openers might have to adjust lower down the order should the need arise.

But it remains to be seen whether Dhoni pre-empt that situation and give an outing to all three batsmen.

Meanwhile, for Leicestershire, it will be a break from the hammering they are currently receiving in the County Championship, placed last in the division-two points’ table.

At best, this is a chance for them to attract fans during the three days, as the T20 tour game versus India in 2011 at the same ground proved to be quite popular.

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Cardiff

India won by 133 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Photos

Aaron Finch's record 156 vs England in T20I

Videos

Alastair Cook looks ahead to 3rd ODI at Nottingham

Zimbabwe vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, 3rd ODI at Harare: South Africa win by 61 runs

England, take ODIs seriously if you want to win

Hiralal Gaekwad: the southpaw who lost out to Vinoo Mankad

Lord Ganesha XI: Eleven cricketers who were named after the elephant God

Suresh Raina’s new avatar on India’s tour of England 2014

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Suresh Raina feels Murali Vijay, Sanju Samson, and Ambati Rayudu are options to open

Rajinikanth finds a fan in Ross Taylor!

Prosper Utseya’s hat-trick in vain as South Africa clinch 61 run victory against Zimbabwe in 3rd ODI

India tour of England 2014: Alex Hales wants to play Test cricket

Aditya Verma: Will oppose N Srinivasan or BCCI if AGM is delayed

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Sri Lanka’s likely XI

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Key clashes

Statistical review of most centuries scored in a single day in ODIs

India enjoy an Emphatic victory against England in the 1st ODI — just like the first Test

Rilee Rossouw’s golden duck ‘feat’

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

666 Posts | 6 Fans

12 runs in one ball

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Watch Stephen Hawkins endorse the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 3rd ODI at Hambantota: Key clashes

Apple iWatch won’t ship until next year: Report

Canada Welcomes 150,000 New Citizens In 2014

Ganesh Chaturthi 2014: Gurmeet Choudhary and Debina Bonnerjee celebrate Ganeshotsav with the team of Khamoshiyan – view pics!

Patti Tripathi: From News Director to Entrepreneur to Women’s Empowerment

NGOs pursue education for all

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Key clashes

Apple iPhone 6 photos with full casing leaked ahead of September 9 launch

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here