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January 4, 2013
Ashley Giles knows he will be in for a few surprises as he takes over the coaching of England's one-day sides, but he could have been forgiven if he was caught cold in his opening practice in Delhi.
India's capital is experiencing some of its most-bone chilling temperatures on record and it was 5C at best when he supervised his first session in light fog ahead of a warm-up match against India A in Delhi on Sunday. Back home in Birmingham on Friday, there were prospects of a positively warming 10C with even the promise of a sunny interval or two.
Giles faces quite a challenge if England are to win his first series in charge. They have won only one ODI series in India, in 1984-5, and their last two visits have ended in 5-0 whitewashes for the home side.
As for the weather, England might not have experienced their coldest day. Two more of their matches are in the northern outposts of Mohali, which they know well, and Dharmasala, in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a stunning spot, but maximum and minimum temperatures are predicted to vary between -6C and 6C in the next four days - and the match is less than three weeks away.
Even in England, an international is not thought to have taken place in temperatures quite as low as that. Kevin Pietersen, who was not always enamoured with the weather in northern England after returning from IPL, could be just one player in for a treat.
Tim Bresnan donned a beanie to peer through the fog and predict that all would be well at the start of the Giles era. "He floated in and out during the Test series in his role as a selector, talked to some of the lads and it was good," he said.
"Most of the plans we use for one-day cricket are already in place and I think it will be pretty seamless for him to come in and pick up the reins. He's quite chilled out but we'll see what happens. He might fire a few rockets and surprise people. That's what you get from a new coach and we're looking forward to it."
One India A name familiar to England will be Sreesanth, the fast bowler, who returned to competitive cricket last month after an absence of a year with a career-threatening injury. Sreesanth spent two months in a wheelchair after two operations on his toes and has called the experience "the darkest phase of my life."
The side will be led by Tamil Nadu's opening batsman Abhinav Mukund who Bresnan also know from the Test series in England during 2011.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the 4th ODI between England and India at Edgbaston