The five-match Test series against England is deemed as the biggest assignment for Virat Kohli and company this year. No wonder, Kohli himself has opted to play county cricket for Surrey in the month of June. Moreover, India’s leading Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and speedster Ishant Sharma are representing Yorkshire and Sussex respectively from the start of the county season.
India’s tour of England will kick off from July 3 where they will play three T20Is and as many ODIs before featuring in a five-match Test series from August 1.
However, veteran India opener Gautam Gambhir reckons that BCCI’s decision to play limited-overs cricket before the Tests in England won’t make much of a difference on the eventual outcome of the series.
"White-ball and red-ball cricket is completely different. I don't think playing limited-overs cricket before Test is going to make a huge difference unless you prepare for Tests also," Gambhir quoted as saying by India Today.
"The difference in ball is going to have a huge impact. You need to prepare with red ball as well along with playing white-ball cricket. Test cricket in England will be completely different that limited-overs cricket," he added.
In contrast, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta believes that the schedule will help India to acclimatize to the English conditions in a better way.
"The last couple of Test matches in SA was evident enough that if you have right kind preparation even that series could have been different. I have no doubt that we will do well and go on to win the series in England and Australia," Deep remarked.
BCCI’s decision was a reflection of Team India’s dismal show in Tests against the Proteas earlier this year. As soon as India had conceded the first two Tests and the series against South Africa, the blame game had started with head coach Ravi Shastri admitting that another 10-15 days of preparation in the rainbow nation could have been ideal for the visitors.
In order to avoid such slip-ups, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had carried out some changes in the scheduling and preparation time for the all-important England tour.
India’s tour of England itinerary:
July 03, 1st T20I – Old Trafford, Manchester
July 06, 2nd T20I – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
July 08, 3rd T20I – County Ground, Bristol
July 12, 1st ODI – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
July 14, 2nd ODI – Lord's, London
July 17, 3rd ODI – Headingley, Leeds
Aug 01 - Aug 05, 1st Test – Edgbaston, Birmingham
Aug 09 - Aug 13, 2nd Test – Lord's, London
Aug 18 - Aug 22, 3rd Test – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Aug 30 - Sep 03, 4th Test – The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Sep 07 - Sep 11, 5th Test – Kennington Oval, London