Indians turn focus to shorter forms
The lack of intensity in India's tour matches before the Test series might have come in for question and criticism, but India are not likely to deviate anytime soon. On Friday they will return to their only venue of triumph, Lord's, where they will play Middlesex in a non-List-A one-day game where any number of players can take part provided only 11 bat and only 11 are on the field at a given time. India's argument is that they want everyone in their squad to have a hit in the middle.
Middlesex will be captained by Eoin Morgan, and will include Steve Finn, who has been on the mend and nearly made it to the Test XI against India. Ireland's opener Paul Stirling will be another attraction. The five-match ODI series starts on Monday, in Bristol. India last won an ODI outside Asia more than a year ago, in Zimbabwe. Since then they have lost six, in South Africa and New Zealand.
India have had new hands on deck for the ODIs. Suresh Raina, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav (who, many felt, should have been here for the Tests), Dhawal Kulkarni, Sanju Samson and Karn Sharma have joined the team. Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Gautam Gambhir, Ishwar Pandey and Naman Ojha have gone back. Cheteshwar Pujara won't be playing ODIs, but is likely to stay back and get in some county matches towards the end of the season.
More closely watched will be the new support staff. Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar will take over from Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes; Duncan Fletcher will find Ravi Shastri every time he looks over the shoulder. Penney and Dawes conducted two training sessions even after the big announcement made on Tuesday. They had been asked to wait till the replacements arrived. Their final training session before they go on "leave" was sparsely attended: only Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the Test side attended.
Middlesex squad: Eoin Morgan (capt.), Joe Denly, Neil Dexter, Steven Finn, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Ryan Higgins, Dawid Malan, Ravi Patel, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Gurjit Sandhu, John Simpson and Paul Stirling
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo