After a 38-hour journey, the England cricket team finally reached India, and now Ashwin and Brook are in focus

The England cricket team is going to play their first warm-up match for the ODI World Cup 2023 on Saturday. The India cricket team has already arrived late on Thursday and had an optional training session on Friday afternoon, attended by four players: Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, R Ashwin, and Shardul Thakur.
England can draw some comfort from the fact that they will stay in Guwahati for both their warm-up games, unlike India, who are going to travel down south to Thiruvananthapuram for their second warm-up on October 2 against the Netherlands.
England were the only side to beat India in the league stage of the 2019 ODI World Cup, after which India jettisoned their two-wrist spinner strategy. As it turns out, only one of them, Kuldeep Yadav, has made it to this World Cup, but he has done so after two years in the wilderness, after going back to the drawing board, working on his run-up and rhythm, and rediscovering his verve to become one of India's trump cards.
The other significant bit is the late entry of Ashwin into the squad on the back of an injury to Axar Patel. Ashwin, a key player in the previous ICC victory of team India at the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy, has made it despite having only played four ODIs—including two last week against Australia, where he registered combined figures of 4 for 88 across 17 overs—over the last six years.
Having forced his way into the squad, Ashwin will fancy his chances of making the first XI, given the team's inclination to field someone who can bat at No. 8. This means Ashwin will tussle with Thakur for that spot, depending on the kind of surfaces and match-ups India is likely to encounter.
England are coming off a short series against New Zealand, where they overturned a 1-0 deficit to clinch the series 2-1, with Ben Stokes making an unreal 182 in the decider. That Stokes is here having unretired from the format follows lengthy discussions with the backroom staff, who were keen that he played in a bid to help England defend their title.
Harry Brook, who had his fair share of troubles in India earlier this year at the IPL, will have a chance to show why Luke Wright and Co. were right in picking him, albeit belatedly, at the expense of Jason Roy.



Sep 29, 2023 1:46 PM