Mumbai: It's not always that a visiting team's warm-up match assumes as much importance as the three-day game between England and India A, starting at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday (October 30). It will be the first of three opportunities for the Englishmen to acclimatise to conditions - even if they are denied much practice against quality spin - but equally importantly, it will give the Indian selectors some indications about the options for the spots in the Indian Test team that need filling.
The England team arrived in Mumbai on Monday afternoon after a three-day camp in Dubai. Keeping in mind the fact that the India A team will not throw much by way of top-class spin in their direction, the team had called up four county spinners - James Tredwell, Scott Borthwick, Simon Kerrigan and Azeem Rafiq - to go with Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Samit Patel, the Test team members, in Dubai.
Their first taste of Indian conditions, however, will only be on the morning of the match, with no practice sessions lined up on the eve of the encounter.