England target improvement against spin
The England performance programme (EPP) squad travel to India next month and director David Parsons hopes to use the trip to enhance the players' skills on the subcontinent.
Batsman, spin bowlers and wicketkeepers will attend a training camp in Pune and Mumbai ahead of selection for the England Lions tours of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2012. Parsons believes the trip will provide vital experience for England's rising stars.
"India, statistically if you speak to any past England player, is the most difficult place to go and win," Parsons told the ECB website. "Obviously, England haven't got a great record out there in recent years, so we thought that would be a good place to go."
The trip follows England's 5-0 defeat in the one-day series in India during October and poor performance at the World Cup in March, hosted in the subcontinent, which ended in a 10-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the quarter-final.
Test captain Andrew Strauss will be among three senior England players joining the training camps ahead of England's Test series against Pakistan in January.
Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan, who has spent the last two months recovering from a shoulder injury which ruled him out of the India trip, will also travel with the EPP squad to begin acclimatisation for the tour to UAE.
"The density of population, the traffic, the heat, the humidity; the types of pitches they will be playing on and the stadiums will be very unfamiliar to players," said Parsons, "We want to give more familiarity with that environment. There will be a heavy emphasis on skills development from both the spin bowlers' perspective and the batsmen perspective as well. To be effective, especially against spin, is an area where we haven't been particularly strong."
The EPP squad includes several players who have been involved with senior England teams. Jonny Bairstow, who was part of the England team that lost in India last month; Alex Hales, the Nottinghamshire batsman with four Twenty20 caps; and James Taylor, who is set for a move from Leicestershire to Nottinghamshire, are all in the squad.