Positive tests in England camp cast doubt on India’s warm-up match

Seven positive tests in the England limited-overs squad due to play Pakistan from Thursday may cast a shadow on India’s chances of getting a warm-up ahead of the five-Test series which begins next month.

Both ECB, which was forced to overhaul its limited-overs squad, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told IANS on Wednesday that there is no update, development or change to the current plan with regard to India series following the positive tests in England camp.

It means that the ECB continues to mull India’s request of a warm-up game prior to the five-Test series that begins next month — from August 4 — in Nottingham.

The Indian team had requested for a warm-up after the loss to New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final last month. Though initially the ECB had not planned any warm-up for the Indian team due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, it had last week confirmed to IANS that it is looking into the request made by India.

“We are aware of a request from the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) to play a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI as part of the Indian Men’s Test team’s build-up to the five-match LV-Insurance Test series,” said an ECB official to IANS last week.

“We are working through the operations and Covid-19 protocols to ensure we are able to deliver this and will confirm in due course,” the official had added.

There has been no headway on India’s request as of now although it remains to be seen whether ECB will let any first-class player enter the bio-bubble and play practice tie against India especially in the wake of the positive cases in the England camp.

The Indian team is on a three-week rest period before it begins a camp in Durham from July 15. If ECB decides to organise a match for the Indian team against a County Select XI, it could take place within the next fortnight.

The United Kingdom government is planning a return to a full house at sports and entertainment venues after the country reopens on July 19.

England men’s cricket director Ashley Giles had said on Tuesday that it is tough to strike a balance between staying safe amid a situation in which the country is opening and virus is spreading.

“We are seeing an almost-impossible situation as society opens and the virus is still spreading,” he had said.

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