India captain Virat Kohli said his team wanted to play first-class games to warm up for the five-Test series against England in August and that its request was turned down for reasons not known to him.
The Indian team played the World Test Championship final without having played any first-class game in the lead-up to it while its opponent, New Zealand, which won the title on Wednesday, got ready with a two-Test series against England.
The Indian team will disperse on Thursday for a three-week break from the bio-bubble and reassemble in Nottingham on July 14 to prepare for the Test series starting August 4. Asked if a few first-class games in the itinerary would have been better, Kohli said: “That doesn’t depend on us,” he said.
To put things in perspective, it was the BCCI that had asked the England and Wales Cricket Board to cancel two official first-class games that India was supposed to play in July as a tune-up to the Test series.
“We had a shadow tour of India A which was supposed to overlap with our senior team’s tour. In fact, we had two official first-class games between India and India A that was supposed to be held. But then we came with a jumbo squad and after discussions with ECB, the matches were cancelled,” a BCCI source told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
While Kohli would have fancied first-class games against county sides or England Lions (the A side), it wouldn’t have been possible as the domestic season is on in the U.K.
The County Championship and the domestic T20 tournament ‘Vitality Blast’ are going on. The ‘Vitality Blast’ will be followed by the much-awaited ‘The Hundred’.
It would have been difficult for India to get a quality opposition which would have helped it prepare for the Test series.