Former India batsman Dilip Vengsarkar questioned the scheduling of India’s tour of England, saying it was ‘absurd’ to have a one-and-a-half month gap after the ICC World Test Championship final. The ICC WTC final between India and England is set to happen between June 18 and June 22 in Southampton. India’s Test squad do not have any official matches lined up till August 4, when the first of five Tests will begin.
In the mean time, England will play limited-overs series against the visiting Sri Lanka and Pakistan sides.
“What are they going to do in those one-and-a-half months? I am really surprised with the scheduling," Vengsarkar told Cricketnext. “What kind of a tour is being organised? How can you have a Test match now and you don’t have any cricket for one-and-a-half months, and then you play the Test series.
“Even if Pakistan and Sri Lanka visit England for limited-overs series in July (England host Sri Lanka for three T20Is and three ODIs in June-July and Pakistan for three ODIs and three T20Is in July), why can’t they have the England-India Tests immediately after the WTC final? Is the team coming back after the WTC final and then going back? What are they going to do for those one-and-a-half months?
“Even if they schedule county matches, one-and-a-half months is too long a period to play county matches. This itinerary is weird. If there is no cricket for one-and-a-half months, it is strange. If India is there to play Test matches, they should continue playing Tests rather than have a gap. Why have Pakistan and Sri Lanka playing T20Is and ODIs in between? That is absurd."
England will also play two Tests against New Zealand prior to the WTC final. Vengsarkar said that gives New Zealand an edge over India going into the big game, as the Kiwis will be well acclimatised.
“Of course, New Zealand will have an advantage because they play two Tests before the WTC final. It will help them. How quickly India adapts to the conditions will be important. But, New Zealand would have already had two Tests experience and would be playing in their third Test on the trot against India, while it will be the first on the tour for Kohli And Co."