Mumbai: After being humbled 0-4 in the five-Test rubber, England will have their task cut out when they take on a strong India A led by former national cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first practice game at the Brabourne Stadium here on Tuesday.
Ahead of the three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and as many T20 matches, the England players, at least the ones who were not part of the Test series, will get some time to get acclimatized to the conditions.
Dhoni’s side includes the likes of opener Shikhar Dhawan, middle-order star Yuvraj singh, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, who will be seen in action in the upcoming series against the visitors.
While Dhoni and Yuvraj will use the match to gain some white ball practice, it will also give Pandya, Dhawan and Nehra a chance to prove their fitness.
Nehra, who sustained a serious injury during the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year, has been off the field since.
Pandya and Dhawan played in the Ranji Trophy for their respective sides after recovering from their injuries.
This could also be the last time Dhoni will lead an Indian team after the 35-year-old Ranchi wicketkeeper-batsman stepped down as India’s limited overs skipper last week.
On the other hand, the match will also give an opportunity to the likes of Sanju Samson, Mandeep Singh, Siddarth Kaul, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohit Sharma to test India’s bench strength in the shorter version of the game ahead of the Champions Trophy in England later this year.
England, meanwhile, will aim to salvage some pride in the shorter versions after being mauled in the Test series.
In recent times, swashbuckling batsman Eoin Morgan has led the side well and with dynamic players in Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Alex Hales, to just name a few, this England batting side is as good as any in international cricket.
The bowling department will be spearheaded by Chris Woakes with all-rounder Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett and David Willey forming a great combination along with spinners Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Liam Dawson.
India A squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Siddharth Kaul.
England: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes.