England pleased with lengthy preparation
England's preparation for their second five-match ODI series against India in under a month will open with two practice matches against a Hyderbad squad, the BCCI has confirmed. England arrived in the city, which is the venue for the first ODI on October 14, on Tuesday and two day-night practice games will form part of their ten-day acclimatisation.
The two practice matches will be held on October 8 and 11, with Hyderabad trying to rebuild after a poor 2010-11 Ranji Trophy season in the lower-division of the Indian domestic championship. The team to face England is expected to be selected on Thursday.
A BCCI official said England could not face a Board President's XI or an India A team consisting of the highest rung of domestic cricketers because of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, a domestic 50-overs tournament featuring India's elite players.
The tournament, featuring India's top 36 ODI players, will be held in Nagpur from October 10 to 13, with the players divided into three teams - India Blue, India Green and India Red. Gautam Gambhir, who is part of the Indian squad for the first two ODIs, will captain India Red.
England underwent their first day of training in Hyderabad on Wednesday,a few players struggling in the 30-degree heat. England captian Alastair Cook was pleased with England's long warm-up period before the one-dayers. "It is quite unheard of as a one-day preparation period, to have 10 days," he said. "Normally, you come straight from a Test series. So to have that time is fantastic."
England coach Andy Flower joins the England team on Thursday, after having undergone minor shoulder surgery and receiving his OBE during an Investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle. Wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter is part of the Somerset squad taking part in the Champions League T20 and by Wednesday night will know whether his team will be part of the semi-finals or whether he will be making his way from Bangalore to Hyderabad.
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo