India is playing their first warm-up game on its tour to England. It’s been nearly two months that they are in England. They had traveled there for the WTC Finals against New Zealand. Unfortunately, they came agonizingly close to a win but lost out in the final moments. However, they have brushed away their WTC Finals gloom and are looking for a historic win in England in the upcoming 5 match test series.
To kick off their preparations, India had requested the ECB to schedule practice games for the Indian side. The English board was prompt in helping their Indian counterparts and set up a game between the Indian side and County Select XI. The County Select XI would feature some of the best performers of this season’s county championship. It has players of the caliber of Haseeb Hameed, Lydon James, and Jack Carson.
On the eve of the game, ECB came with a rather unusual request for the BCCI. They asked if two Indian players could play for the County Side XI since few of their existing players were unavailable due to injury scares or close contact with a Covid-19 positive person. Accordingly, Sundar and Khan have been made available to play for their team. Therefore, Sundar and Khan will be up against their own teammates.
This game would be missing the usual big guns in the form of Kohli, Rahane, and Sharma. Kohli has some stiffness in his back and Rahane was dealing with a mild swelling around his left upper hamstring. The BCCI Medical Team is monitoring Kohli, and he is expected to fully recover well in time for the first Test against England starting from 4th August at Nottingham.
The rest of the players have taken the field. This is a great opportunity to get some game time for the players. They will acclimatize with the bounce, swing, and movement on pitches. The match got onto a good start with India batting first. KL Rahul bought up a spectacular 100 with ample support from Jaddu who got a well-made 75.
In response, the Indian bowlers got off to a fantastic start and picked three quick wickets. However, Hameed put up great resistance and scored 112. Umesh Yadav picked up three good wickets with all other bowlers pitching in. the game hangs in good balance and it will be interesting to see the approach India takes while batting the second time.
On an unfortunate note, Avesh Khan while bowling on Day 1 sustained a hit on his left thumb. He immediately went for a scan and according to reports, he has fractured his thumb and in all probability, he would be out for the entire duration of the summer. He will also be joined with Washington Sundar, who too has injured his finger. With strict Covid rules, it is a good decision on part of the Indian board to send a bigger team so that these injuries do not hamper the balance of the team.