England XI batsmen will not see too much spin either as they face Mumbai ‘A’
England vice-captain Stuart Broad and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar are almost certain to be part of the XI that will take the field against Mumbai ‘A’ in the second tour game that will begin at the D.Y. Patil Stadium on Saturday.
The England players who did not figure in the opening tour match against India ‘A’ were Jonny Bairstow, Graham Onions, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan.
The home team is a mix of first class and junior team players — it will also field Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan — and probably only one slow bowler in leg-spinner Sagar Gorivale, who has been a regular with the Mumbai under-19 and under-22 teams.
The England team travelled to Nerul, Navi Mumbai, on Friday morning and the coaching management in Andy Flower and Graham Gooch arranged for a practice session in the afternoon for Panesar and Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow who has played Tests against the West Indies and South Africa.
England is still finding ways to prepare itself adequately and satisfactorily against spin bowling.
There are reports that spinners from the County sides Scott Borthwick, Azeem Rafiq, James Tredwell and Simon Kerrigan enhanced the spin department while the team trained in Dubai for three days.
But, for a change, the visitors’ seamers may find more encouragement from the D.Y. Patil Stadium wicket, with former India seamer Abey Kuruvilla directing the ground staff at the venue to lay a wicket that will assist sideways movement and also bounce.
“It will be a sporting wicket,” said Vijay Patil, President of the D.Y. Patil Sports Academy and vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
While England will continue the process to identify the best XI it can field for the first Test, either perhaps giving another chance to Nick Compton or opting for Joe Root at the top of the order, the local side is excited about the opportunity given to it against an international side.
“We think this game is a good opportunity for everybody, especially for those who are in the running for a Ranji place. It is a big game for us. Most of the players have come from under- 25 match played against Baroda. We are looking forward to playing as a team,” said Mumbai ‘A’ captain Suryakumar Yadav.
The Mumbai middle order batsman is not disappointed at not being picked for the match against Railways. “I am positive and I am not at all disappointed, but it is at the back of my mind that I am missing a first class game for Mumbai. But still losing a place to the big guns (like Sachin Tendulkar) is not a big worry for me It would be a good experience facing international players. It’s a big opportunity to learn skills and tactics from them and get some positives out of that.”
Yadav, who had a forgettable tour of New Zealand with the India ‘A’ team, said he had been forced to change his batting approach and style. “I played some poor strokes and got out last season when the team needed me in the middle and hence I have changed my game a bit. Staying at the wicket and getting big runs for my side will be the strategy this year. I can play my shots any time,” said Yadav.
The teams (from): England: Alastair Cook (Capt.), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Joe Root, Graeme Swann and Eoin Morgan
Mumbai ‘A’: Suryakumar Yadav (Capt.), Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Hiken Shah, Bhavin Thakkar, Sufiyan Shaikh, Nikhil Patil (jr.), Shoaib Shaikh, Kshemal Waingankar, Balwinder Singh, Sagar Gorivale, Javed Khan, Neelkant Parab, Bravish Shetty, Shardul Thakur.