London: Regardless of how much significance is attached to the two Twenty20 internationals against West Indies, England's 25-run defeat on Sunday, as they failed to chase down 114, went to emphasise the challenge that confronts the squad which will travel to India next week. Batting against spin bowling on a dusty, slow surface will - if India are serious about exacting some measure of revenge for their humbling recent tour - be the regular formula during the five ODIs and Twenty20 match.
It was that likelihood which may have prompted Andy Flower to call for a dry surface at The Oval rather than allow his young side the benefits of a green-top in September. The events during the final match of England's home season won't have led to a ripping up of the tour squad when Flower met the selectors on Monday, just as the 10-wicket win two days earlier won't have inked in every new face for the trip, but it showed again what needs to be worked on.
A number of the younger players that were selected against West Indies will be heading to India although the exact permutations largely depend on the presence, or otherwise, of a senior figure. Kevin Pietersen hasn't played since the Twenty20 against India, at Old Trafford, and reports have varied between him being signed off for the rest of the year to actually having been dropped.