India will be travelling with an extended squad for their bumper summer in England this year, including the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and also a five-match Test series against the hosts.
The decision, reportedly made by the BCCI to enable India’s preparations for the long tour, has been taken following the postponement of the scheduled India ‘A’ tour of the UK due to the health threat amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Initially set to travel to England for matches against England Lions and India’s senior national side, the India ‘A’ team will no longer fly across to the UK, with the BCCI and its English counterpart, the ECB, agreeing to postpone the tour. India’s warm-up schedule now includes a couple of intra-squad four-day matches.
England are scheduled to also host New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan through their international summer, besides India. The ECB has confirmed that there is an agreement reached with those boards as well to cancel their practice games against county sides and play intra-squad matches instead in the build-up to their respective tours.
India to tour England with larger squad after postponement of ‘A’ series in UK
An ECBstatement mentioned that these decisions will help them focus completely “on delivering the safest possible environment for all international cricket matches scheduled to take place over the summer.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said on Tuesday (April 13), “We are looking forward to staging a memorable summer of men’s and women’s international cricket when fans are set to return to venues.”
“Ensuring the safest possible environment for international cricket is our first priority and we are appreciative for the understanding of our fellow boards.”
“We look forward to welcoming a men’s India A tour at a later date after this summer and when restrictions have eased. It will provide a valuable opportunity for players from both countries to experience high-quality cricket and to showcase the talent within our England Lions team and first-class counties,” Harrison added.
India’s extended Test contingent will be travelling across to England post the completion of IPL 2021 on May 30. The team will take on New Zealand in the marquee World Test Championship final from June 18 to 22 in Southampton and will then stay back in the UK through July to fine-tune their preparations for the series against England, beginning August 4.