IndiavsEngland: Teams to undergo three-day training ahead of first Test
The squads of India and England will get just three days to train before the first of four-Test series, starting February 5 in Chennai. Reportedly, both the squads will have to undergo a mandatory six-day quarantine upon arrival on January 27. It is interesting to note this will be the first international assignment hosted in India following the COVID-enforced break. Here is more.
A 32-member English contingent led by Joe Root will land on Wednesday, while Indian players are scheduled to arrive in batches through the day. England's touring party will link up with Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns, who landed in Chennai earlier.
Recently, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) informed its members that the first two Tests at the MA Chidambaram Stadium will be played behind closed doors. In the circular, TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy notified the members that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Earlier, the BCCI was contemplating regarding 50 per cent crowd attendance for Tests.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the BCCI has booked a hotel exclusively for both teams to ensure a bio-secure environment. The players can stay with their families, however, no member can step out of their rooms during the initial six-day quarantine. It is understood that the teams can use the swimming pool at the hotel, once the mandatory testing process gets completed.
Speaking on the same, Root said it would be "strange" to be locked in a room for nearly a week. "It's going to be strange. We've got to be quite realistic: we are going to have seven or eight days with no cricket now, with six days in quarantine," stated Root. "Then we'll have three very important days of preparation ahead of the series."
It is understood that teams and families can't exit the bubble during the series, and would need to restrict their movements between the hotel and ground. Notably, the TNCA has created three zones to demarcate boundaries for all stakeholders.
As stated, this will be the first international series hosted in India during the pandemic. The four-Test series is part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC). While India remain the front-runners to clinch the qualification berth, the impending series will decide the fate of England. Interestingly, England were the last side that won a Test series in India (in 2012/13).