India cricket teams getting ready for future assignments
After a short break due to the pandemic, Indian cricketers are all set to return to the cricket field. In the next few months, they have a lot on their plate that includes World Test Championship Final, India-Sri Lanka limited-overs series, India-England Test series, India Women playing England Women, and visiting Australia to play their first Day/Night Test match. So while the cricket fans are eagerly awaiting the World Cup later this year, they will be happy to see Indian cricketers in action for a long time at a stretch.
India Women in England
India Women will make a grand comeback in Test cricket after seven years and face the hosts England at Bristol. In recent times, Indian women achieved great glory as they were the runners-up in the last editions of both 50 and 20 overs World Cup. The Mithali Raj-led team is a great mix of youth and experience, including Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Smriti Mandhana. However, the biggest news is the inclusion of the 17-year-old Shafali Verma. The dashing batter has already made a name for herself as an opener in the limited-overs game. Now it is time to replicate the same in Test cricket. The teams are also scheduled to play three ODIs and as many as T20Is in this tour. India had memorable wins in England during their tours in 2006 and 2014 and hence should be confident for a good show.
World Test Championship
The biggest contest of this summer would be the World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand. These two teams have proved their superiority during the three-year-long tournament and deservingly got their seats booked in the finale. Unfortunately, the pandemic did impact various series during the tournament. However, ICC made the necessary changes to ensure the final in 2021. Virat Kohli-led team will have a tough job in hand against a very strong New Zealand team led by Kane Williamson. Both teams can boast of very strong bowling line-ups as some of the current greats like Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin will be on show. In addition, there will be stars like Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ross Taylor, and the new sensation Devon Conway in the batting departments except for Kohli and Williamson. This match will be a true clash of titans, and the Lords would have been a perfect venue, but covid related protocols mean the teams will battle it out at Southampton.
India in Sri Lanka
The pandemic had a severe impact on the global travel scenario as quarantine has become a norm. As a result, the Indian Test eleven, with most of their key players and their entire coaching unit, including Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, Vikram Rathore, have to stay in England for more than a month after the World Test Championship Final. Therefore, BCCI decided to send a completely different squad for the tour in an unprecedented move, including three ODIs and three T20I matches. All of these matches are scheduled at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Former Indian great Rahul Dravid, who successfully managed India Under 19 and India A in the past, has been appointed as the team’s coach, which should include youngsters like Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Abesh Khan, and others.
India in England
Once the World Test Championship Final gets over, all the focus will shift to the five-match Test series between India and England. During their last meeting in England in 2018, the home team won 4-1. This time also, it is expected to be an exciting series involving two top teams. Earlier this year, these two sides met in India, which India won 3-1. England will be keen for revenge, whereas India will look to not repeat the mistakes from 2018. England is currently playing New Zealand and will have the benefit of the home conditions against India. They will also have players like Ben Stokes, James Anderson, and Stuart Broad, who will all be available during the much-awaited Test series. In 2018, Sam Curran was the youngster making his presence felt. This time too, England will have quite a few young players like Ollie Pop and Dan Lawrence. For India, it will be mostly the same side taking on New Zealand the WTC Final.
India Women in Australia
After the series in England, the Indian women team will travel Down Under to play a series including ODIs, Test, and T20Is. The tour will begin with three ODI matches in Sydney and Melbourne, and then the teams will then travel to Perth to play the one-off Test match. This will be India’s first Test in Australia in 15 years. Moreover, it will also be their first opportunity to play a Day/Night Test match with pink-ball. For Australia, this will be the second D/N Test for the women’s team as they played their first-ever Test match under lights in 2017 against England. Already, senior Indian players like Smriti Mandhana expressed their excitement for becoming a part of the Day/Night Test experience. The tour will also include three T20I matches after the Test match at Sydney.
South Africa in India
Just ahead of the T20I World Cup, South Africa is designated to visit India for a short limited-overs tour. This, along with the rest of the Indian Premier League 2021, will be primarily a preparation for the coveted tournament as the teams can fine-tune their combinations. The tour scheduled to be played in October will include three ODI and three T20I matches. The venues have not been decided yet as it will depend on the Covid situation in India closer to the series. South Africa’s last India tour had to be abandoned midway during the early days of the pandemic in 2020.