India tour of England 2014

Dravid hopes warm-up games don't lack intensity

Gaurav Kalra

June 25, 2014

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A
Dravid: Hope warm-ups don't lack intensity

Rahul Dravid, the former India captain, hopes the two warm-up games on India's tour to England will not lack intensity, as has been the case on previous tours. India, who are scheduled to play five Tests against England, play the first of their two warm-up games on Thursday, a three-day match in Leicester.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Dravid said, "When I first started playing, county or first-class teams would put out their best XIs against international teams. That has changed a lot because towards the end of my career, you would almost see second XIs playing against you and that would bring down the intensity of the competition. I hope that doesn't happen."

On their tour of England in 2011, when India were whitewashed 0-4, the visitors played just one warm-up match against Somerset before the first Test and a second warm-up game against Northamptonshire was held after the first two Tests. This year's schedule has been structured differently, with two warm-up games leading into the series but none between the five Tests.


Ishant Sharma picked up his career-best haul, New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, February 14, 2014
Rahul Dravid: "[For] someone like an Ishant Sharma, it will be nice for him to have one or two long bowls in these games" © AFP
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Dravid said these matches will be useful as "a lot of India's young players haven't been on a full tour to England before and haven't played a lot of Test cricket for while now. So just to get into the groove of things, for the bowlers to bowl some long spells, get that 20-over workload in a day, for a batsman to spend a couple of sessions, it will be a really useful exercise."

He was also of the view that the experience of having been on previous 'A' tours to England would be "helpful". India A toured England and Scotland in June-July 2010, and played three- and four-day games against Yorkshire and West Indies A and limited-overs matches against West Indies A, Scotland and England Lions. Of the current Indian side, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha and Ajinkya Rahane had played for India A on that tour.

'It's just nice to get used to the conditions," Dravid said. "[For] someone like an Ishant Sharma, who's played a few IPL games but hasn't played a lot other than that, it will be nice for him to have one or two long bowls in these games."

India have taken the unprecedented step of naming an 18-man squad for the tour, which might make it harder for the management to give every player a go before the Tests. Dravid chuckled at the thought of "fitting 18 guys into a very small dressing room at Leicester!" but said the management would look to try "different combinations" in the two games.

"There are two ways they can go, which is bowling three seamers and one spinner in one combination and actually going with two seamers and two spinners in another," Dravid said. "Maybe two games gives them the opportunity to try out both combinations and see which is the good one."

Having not played any competitive cricket since the IPL, the likes of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay and MS Dhoni will be keen to get some invaluable match practice ahead of the Tests. Dravid expected the Test certainties to take up most of the spots in warm-ups: "You generally know nine of your players, so you generally like to give them as much batting time as possible. You can rotate the bowlers a little bit more, the batsmen like to bat a lot before a series starts."

Having toured England four times and enjoyed a great amount of success there, Dravid said the tour games could "really get you into the tour". "I really enjoyed them, because they are nice small cities and towns where you really get to chill out and relax at the end of the day. I really looked forward to some of these games."

With nearly 20 days in England and the opportunity to play two warm-up games, India should ideally be better prepared for the Tests than their recent overseas tours. Dravid, however, added a note of caution: "They are (warm-up games) important, it doesn't guarantee you success in the Test matches or the other way around if you don't do well in these games."

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 6:47 GMT)

The Indian bowlers let you down, Dravid. And, many of us among the Indian fans. The weather joined hands in that let-own. IF intensity was there, I would say that intensity without direction will lead only to frenetic chaos. What a shame!

Posted by Ascharya on (June 28, 2014, 20:44 GMT)

@ProdigyA

SL have won Tests in England before, but not Test series. This was their first MULTI-TEST series win in England. They won the one off Test in 1998 but one Test is not a series. If the 1998 Test is counted as a 'series' they've won two Test series in England :D

Good luck, India :)

Posted by artificial.intelligence on (June 28, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

why is one of india's best bowlers mohit sharma not in the test squad...his impeccable line and length is made for the longer format

Posted by Nampally on (June 27, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

@ProdigyA: As long as Srinivasan is in power as the BCCI chief, Dhoni will remain the captain. Also Dhoni's policy is to select his own Favourite XI which he will play consistently- a he did in NZ & SA. Dhoni needs to change this approach. Neither India nor England are used to playing 5 Test matches in such a short span of time & continuously too! Injuries may become a factor! Dhoni will have to rotate his XI especially the pace bowlers to avoid injuries. It also ensures fresh legs for each test. Dhoni & the Selectors clearly ignored this aspect in selection of 18. Kumar & Shami need a break after 3 Tests. Yadev & Mohit or Sandeep Sharma would have been ideal alternates. While England can bring in new guys overnight, India cannot. Dhoni needs to rotate bowlers in XI to get high performance from fresh legs. Are the reserve Pace bowlers good to be in Dhoni's XI? Will Dhoni persist with same pacers for 5 Tests or rotate?

Posted by chotteguru on (June 27, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

Yes "ProdigyA," Dhoni's suitability both as player and captain has been questioned. However, here is another opportunity for the younger players to rise to the occasion and show not just their cricketing skill but their temperament. As "Statistic Rocks" has pointed out the Lankans - a lot of them young too - showed patience, determination and resolve which led them to victory.

If the Indian players stop showing off (this is not the IPL), forget their star status at home, concentrate on the task at hand and work as a team, they can win convincingly here in England, despite their "weak" bowling attack.

Posted by cricketpurist on (June 27, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

Pujara is the only hope in this Indian line up may be a little bit of hope on Gambhir. If " Test cricket" is a game which separates Men from boys where are the Men? its all boys out there in indian team who are only going to rock off the field.

Posted by Nampally on (June 26, 2014, 19:42 GMT)

Many Indian Fans have negative attacks on the Indian team based on Coach Fletcher's comments of inexperienced Indian team. This team may be inexperienced but it is FIT, has plenty of talented guys both in batting & bowling. This combined with an England team which has a group of Old & New players, I expect even advantages to either team. England will rely heavily on Cook & Bell in batting + Broad, Anderson & Plunkett in bowling. The other half of the England team has Ali- a promising all rounder + Balance & Robson- 2 batsmen in-form. India counters with a well established middle order of Pujara, Kohli, Rohit & Dhoni + Dhawan, Gambhir/Vijay as the opener. If the Indian openers give India a good start, this team is capable of scoring over 400. In Bowling India has Kumar- a fine swing bowler, Shami & Pandey/Aaron/Ishant in pace with Jadeja & Ashwin in spin. Because India has gelled as a TEAM, they have better Odds of winning. So Indian FANS, even without Yadev & uthappa it is a good TEAM!

Posted by JRP100 on (June 26, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

one thing I'm hoping is that ishwar pandey doesn't get picked.. India can play ishant sharma if they want given he performed well in NZ, but even if pandey takes 3 or 4 wickets in the warm up matches i hope he doesnt get picked. He bowls barely 80 mph and from what i saw in ipl his outswinger is his only real weapon (and at 80mph the english batsmen wont even flinch). I hope bhuvi performs well because good swing bowling from him along with shami (if he gets his lines right) is the only chance india have of winning a test. Rahane should be an automatic selection after averaging 60 in NZ and SA. rest of the spots are down to the warm up performances. Dhawan, gambhir/vijay, pujara, kohli, rahane, binny/rohit, Ashwin/jadeja, dhoni, bhuvi, shami, ishant/aaron/pankaj

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

@siltbreeze, Actually most of us Indians are wondering the same (about Umesh). No, he is not so bad as to not figure among the 6 best fast bowlers in India. If I have to take a guess, the selectors have a big role for him in the world cup and do not want him to play test matches, lest a 5 match series , since he is injury prone!

Posted by gladiatorgannicus on (June 26, 2014, 16:31 GMT)

@statisticsrocks Indians too left the ball outside the offstump very well in South Africa and every commentator was praising them.

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