Mumbai: As England XI prepare for the ODI and Twenty20 series with two practice games at Brabourne Stadium here, it will be opportunity for star Indian players making a comeback to get match practice and chance for a few fringe players to impress.
The first game on Tuesday will see Mahendra Singh Dhoni lead a side perhaps for the last time before Ajinkya Rahane takes over in he second on Thursday. Dhoni has stepped down as limited overs and T20 skipper and Virat Kohli has taken over in all three formats.
Unruffled by his sudden announcement, Dhoni showed no emotions as he went through the paces in the evening, enjoying a football game with his team before nets.
Along with Dhoni, comeback man Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Ashish Nehra also participated in the gruelling session. All of them haven’t played much cricket in recent times and will be keen to get going.
Dhoni has retired from Tests while Yuvraj is making an ODI comeback after more than three years. Both are part of both formats against England and will want essential practice on Tuesday in the 50-over game. Pandya is also coming back from injury while Nehra, included in T20 squad, hasn’t played much cricket after the ICC World T20.
Youngsters like Yuzvendra Chahal and Mandeep Singh part of T20 squad also got into the groove in the training session and will want to make an impression.
Ambati Rayudu and Mohit Sharma are two other players who will be keen to perform to get back into the limited-overs squad for the Champions Trophy in England. Fringe players like Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav and Siddharth Kaul will also look to sizzle under Dhoni.
Uncertainty prevailed over the game with some former BCCI officials trying to hijack the selection meeting and also apparently trying to convince Cricket Club of India officials who look after the stadium to desist from hosting the warm up games.
But after last-ditch preparations, the games are going ahead. Only a handful of outside spectators are likely to be granted entry to the private club though members are expected to come and see Dhoni’s last hurrah as captain.
India A (first practice game): Shikhar Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt and wk), Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Siddharth Kaul.
England XI: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey and Chris Woakes.