Ahmedabad: Even before the first ball of England’s Test series against India has been bowled, the strategising has reached fever pitch. India’s players, remember, have not yet begun their three-day camp ahead of the series, and will just be assembling in Mumbai to meet each other and sort out what needs to be done to erase the memories of the 4-0 result they were at the wrong end of in England last year.
Already, there have been many mini skirmishes off the field. To start with, the Indian selectors fielded an India A team that did not include a single specialist spinner, on a beauty of a batting pitch that ensured that even the seam quartet of Ashok Dinda, Vinay Kumar, Parvinder Awana and Irfan Pathan had little say.
For the second warm-up match, the Board of Control for Cricket in India put up a Mumbai A team – and to be fair they had little choice here, with all the premier cricketers being involved in the first round of Ranji Trophy matches – that included Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara. So, while a potential reserve opener and a newly bedded-down Test No. 3 got some game time against a quality attack, they gave little away.