England start preparations for next year's five-Test series in India
England fly to Abu Dhabi to start preparations for next year’s five-Test series in India… with Ben Stokes’ side keen to practise in subcontinent conditions after torrid World Cup
- England have set out to train for three weeks on turning pitches in Abu Dhabi
- Ben Stokes’ side are keen to simulate match scenarios in preparation for India
- India’s in-form white ball side reached the ICC World Cup final on Wednesday
England begin their preparations for the five-Test series in India on Friday by spending three weeks playing on turning pitches in Abu Dhabi.
A 20-strong England Lions group flew to the UAE on Thursday and will be joined by Test coach Brendon McCullum, other coaching staff, vice-captain Ollie Pope, veteran fast bowler Jimmy Anderson and left-arm spinner Jack Leach at various points of the training camp.
The trip will prioritise simulating match scenarios in preparation for the typically subcontinent conditions that Ben Stokes’ team will face between January and March.
‘The way we’ll design our practice, we’ll do quite a lot of time in the middle, a lot of middle wicket practice sessions,’ said ECB performance director Mo Bobat.
‘We don’t do a huge amount of netting on a Lions training camp. We’re trying to recreate situations and moments that take place in Test matches and give players exposures to those moments.
England’s Test side are beginning their preparations for next year’s five-Test series in India
Test captain Ben Stokes (above) is keen for his red ball side to simulate match scenarios in subcontinent conditions after England suffered a dismal World Cup campaign in India
England suffered a dismal World Cup in the limited overs format under Jos Buttler (right) and are keen to practise more on turning pitches ahead of facing India between January and March
’It gives you a chance to not be overly technically focused, you can talk a bit more tactically. And you can talk a little bit more around how we want to approach those situations. The key messaging we’re trying to get across is we want the players to really be clear on what their strengths are and try and think about how they use their strengths to put the opposition under pressure.
‘When people talk about Bazball, when I try and unpick what that means at Lions level, that’s what it means to me – players having the presence of mind to understand what’s going on in the game. “Is this a period where we might need to absorb” or “is this a period where we have to be aggressive”.
‘Have they got the presence of mind to understand what’s going on and then do they clearly understand their strength and can they use those strengths to put the opposition under pressure. The more time we spend putting the opposition under pressure, the less time that’s happening to us.’
England can replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test rankings with an away series win, although can expect to encounter some extremely challenging surfaces if the last tour to the subcontinent in early 2021 is anything to go by – after winning the first Test, they were blitzed by India’s spinners, managing totals between 81-205 in their final six innings of the series.
India enjoyed white ball success on Wednesday as they reached the ICC World Cup final
Stokes’ England took part in an enthralling home Ashes series against Australia last summer
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