With just a three-day tour game for the Indian team ahead of the anticipated five-Test series against England, the management aimed to maximize their opportunity as they fielded two of their players for the County Select XI on Tuesday. Pacer Avesh Khan and all-rounder Washington Sundar turned up for the local side in the practice game against the Virat Kohli-less Indian team in Durham.
The three-day affair in Durham will be India’s only opportunity to test their bench strength for the Test series against England and hence Avesh and Sundar fielded for the County side, although both were donning the Indian jersey.
Meanwhile, Kohli and his Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane both were rested for the practice game, where India opted to bat first, along with senior-off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Other first team regulars like Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami were also rested.
Regular keeper Rishabh Pant and senior reserve gloveman Wriddhiman Saha are currently isolating in London after the COVID scare but are expected to join the team before the intra-squad game scheduled at the Riverside ground during the last week of this month.
The match also provides an opportunity for Hanuma Vihari to score a few runs and keep Rahane under pressure since he hasn’t been scoring runs very consistently.
The five-Test series will be an acid test for both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane.
(with PTI inputs)