R Ashwin likely to play County game for Surrey before England Tests: Report
- India's off-spinner R Ashwin could be in line to play a First-Class County Championship match for Surrey against Somerset starting July 11.
India off-spinner R Ashwin could be in line to play a First-Class County Championship match for Surrey against Somerset starting July 11, ESPNCricinfo has reported. However, before Ashwin is considered a lock in, it is understood that the off-spinner would be requiring a work-visa to proceed with his commitment for Surrey.
As of this point, both parties – ECB and the BCCI – seem confident of acquiring the work visa for the 34-year-old in time. Ashwin, who in the past, has played for Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire, picking up 20 and 34 wickets respectively, is currently on a break along with the rest of the Indian players.
If he does indeed play the game – which will be held at The Oval – Ashwin will be on assignment from July 11 to July 14. The match ends on the same day the team is to re-assemble in the bio-bubble ahead of the start of the five-Test series from August 4. The Oval will host the fourth Test of the series.
As per the original schedule, India had no practice matches ahead of the start of the England Test series. However, following their defeat to New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship, reports suggested that the BCCI had requested the ECB to arrange a couple of First-Class matches. Keeping that in mind, it is now likely that the Indian team could play a practice match in the third week of July against a 'Select County XI,' reported news agency PTI.
The dates are not yet finalised but July 20 to 22 seems to be a potential window for the same. As the name suggests, the Select County XI will comprise players from all county teams in order to give the Indian team a much-needed warm-up game ahead of the big profile Test series.
"We are aware of a request from the BCCI 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 Test series," an ECB spokesperson told PTI.
"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 Indian Test team will report to Emirates Riverside, Durham for their pre-Test camp on 15 July and will prepare at the venue until 1 August before heading to Trent Bridge, Nottingham ahead of the first Test starting on 4 August."