Ahead of the marquee five-match Test series against England, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin could play a County Championship 2021 match between Surrey and Somerset starting July 11 at Kennington Oval in London. The ace spinner, however, will require a work visa, which both parties – ECB and BCCI are confident of acquiring, to proceed with his commitment for Surrey.
The 34-year-old earlier has represented county teams – Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire, picking up 20 and 34 wickets respectively. Ashwin along with the other members of the Indian contingent is currently on a break. The Surrey vs Somerset match ends on July 14, same day when the Indian team is set to assemble in the bio-bubble ahead of the first Test on August 4 in Nottingham.
The Indian team were not scheduled to play any practice games before the England series but their defeat to New Zealand in the World Test Championship final forced BCCI to request a couple of First-Class matches before the series. ESPNcricinfo reported the Virat Kohli-led side could play a practice match against ‘Select County XI’ in the third week of July.
“We are aware of a request from the BCCI to play a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI as part of the Indian Men’s Test team’s build-up to the five-match Test series,” Hindustan Times quoted ECB spokesperson.
“We are working through the operations and COVID-19 protocols to ensure we are able to deliver this and will confirm in due course. The Indian Test team will report to Emirates Riverside, Durham for their pre-Test camp on 15 July and will prepare at the venue until 1 August before heading to Trent Bridge, Nottingham ahead of the first Test starting on 4 August.”