England consider sub-continent training camp for Test squad

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26 Aug 2020 | 08:45 PM
authorAFP

England consider sub-continent training camp for Test squad

England could be in Sri Lanka in January for a tour that was originally halted in March because of the virus outbreak before travelling to India for a Test series

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England are looking into the possibility of holding a training camp in the sub-continent for their Test squad ahead of planned tours of Sri Lanka and India.

Their red-ball side completed a 2020 home Test programme with a 1-0 win in a three-match series against Pakistan following a rain-marred drawn finale at Southampton on Tuesday.

That was the last of six Tests this season -- all played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic -- after England's 2-1 win over the West Indies last month.

But as Joe Root's side left their bio-secure bubble, there was no certainty as to when they will be in action again, with Covid-19 having upended the global cricket calendar.

England could be in Sri Lanka in January for a tour that was originally halted in March because of the virus outbreak before travelling to India for a Test series.

"It is nice to know that some form of preparation is being considered ahead of the winter tours if they take place and to give us a really good chance of competing if it is in sub-continent conditions," Root said.

"If not then we just have to make the most of what is available to us."

Classy Crawley

Whenever they next play Test cricket, England will probably find themselves having to work out who to drop in order to get Ben Stokes back in the side after he missed the final two matches of the Pakistan series to be with his ill father in New Zealand.

Zak Crawley made way for an extra seamer earlier in the season when a quad injury meant star all-rounder Stokes was unfit to bowl.

But having scored 267 -- his maiden Test century -- against Pakistan last week, the 22-year-old batsman is unlikely to be dropped again soon.

"I don't think when someone scores 267 it is going to give you too many headaches," said Root of Crawley. 

"He has been left out of the team twice for the balance of the side so to come into the team twice and affect both games shows huge amounts of class, talent, skill, concentration and maturity. 

"Hopefully it is a springboard and it is a shame there is no more Test cricket for him this summer because I'm sure he would have wanted to carry on this form." 

None of England's Test squad have been considered for the upcoming three-match Twenty 20 series against Pakistan starting Friday, with the red and white-ball groups largely kept separate this season.

But while new-ball bowlers such as James Anderson and Stuart Broad are now Test specialists, World Cup-winning batsman Root remains an all-format player.

He has even expressed an interest in playing in county side Yorkshire's Twenty20 Blast opener on Thursday, a move could yet pave the way for Root's return to the limited overs squad for England's T20 and one-day international series at home to arch-rivals Australia next month. 

"That is completely out my hands, I just want to make the most of this summer," said Root. 

"It will be lovely to play some T20 cricket, whether that's for Yorkshire or England, I just want to play the most cricket I can from what is available.

"I'm already looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully scoring some runs."

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